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Live Bait

Blog by: Lloyd Tackitt 5/13/2017

Friday the Brazos was shallow, has been shallow for a long time now.  This drives the fish into the deeper pockets, and they get hungry because they can't get at the little fish in the shallow water.  It makes for good fishing most of the time.  

The water was cool to the touch and registered 80f on my thermometer, just right for getting the fish's metabolic rates up.  It was a pretty day, light breeze out of the West, no clouds, the water surface sometimes flat as a mirror and occasionally only light rippled.  The water felt good as I waded into it, not that shock you have to get over, just a mild coolness.  It was intensely quiet, the only sounds were from some birds calling in the distance, sounded like whippoorwills to me, but I'm not a bird expert.  Temperature was maybe 78 or so, gorgeous day, just gorgeous.

I couldn't get a bite on any fly I threw.  I tried half a dozen, nothing, nada, nil, zip, cipher.

I put on a night crawler and BAM, within seconds I had a great honking bluegill.  10 inches, barely get my hand around it.  Fat.

I re-positioned the hook in the bluegills lip with the point on the outside of the fish, in a part of the lip that is paper thin.  I was going after a bass next, the bluegill was bait.  I let the bluegill swim around an area that has submerged logs, a place bass like.  I watched my floating line move this way and that.

The water above the bluegill swirled, big and hard.  Big waves from the spot as my line took off at a pace far faster than the bluegill could have dragged it.  A bass, and from the size of the swirl a very big one, had swallowed the big bluegill and was running.  I let it run for a few seconds, then set the hook.  The hook came out of the bluegill as intended, but did not stick the bass as hoped.  Not this time.  

Heart still pumping hard I put on another night crawler and cast out, in search of more bluegill bait for another shot at big bass.  Pretty soon my line twitched and I set the hook.  For a second or two I thought I had another big bluegill on, then the catfish began to fight for real.

First I had to get it away from the underwater logs, and that is where the 20 pound leader comes in, I was able to get the fish maneuvered away from the brush and out into more open water.  At that point the fight became even more intense as the catfish tried to get back to the logs, I hung on and laid my rod side to side to maneuver the fish in a large flat figure 8 in front of me, to wear him down enough to land him.  

Eventually I had it up close and I put too much strain on my rod, it broke, and that is the downside to 20 pound leader.  The fight continued for a little longer and then I had it with the boca grip.  I took a couple of photos, released it, and watched as it glided slowly and strongly out of sight into the deeper water again.

I like catching fish.  It matters not a bit to me what I catch them on, live bait (giant bluegills for giant bass), worms, crickets, flys, plastic soft baits...I don't care.  To me it is about having the fish on the line and bringing it in.  But for the worm I wouldn't have had the bluegill, or the shot at the huge bass, or the big catfish.

For others it matters a lot, they are more interested in getting fish to bite specific lures or flys.  

That is one of the many lovely things about fishing - there's all kinds of ways to enjoy it so I don't hold their specific style against them as being of less quality than my style(s) :-).  

More power to those that are oriented differently than I - makes for more fun all around.

Blog content © Lloyd Tackitt
Blog Comments
Kennywho, TX   5/13/2017 5:09:19 PM
Looks like it would have made dinner for two - maybe more.
Flyrodn, CO   5/15/2017 12:24:00 PM
That's the wonderful thing about fishing, there's a place for everyone and their preferences. You're right, some of us have drifted into a world where how we fish matters more than catching. I'm good with that, and I do hope, I never get to the point where how others fish matters, too. As long as it's legal, I'm good with it. Once again, nice cat.
Dave Mauldin, TX   5/15/2017 4:20:51 PM
I agree with you guys. I admire what you do with a fly rod....but I can't do it, Oh, and by the way Lloyd, are you more toward the romantic side of the bell curve?
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX   5/16/2017 8:12:23 AM
Dave, I'm right in the middle, about half Classic and half Romantic. Flyrodn, I agree, there's room for everything that is legal and no one way is of a higher quality than another way. However, if you analyze it there tends to be a generalized hierarchy of thought that the fewer fish you catch the better quality of fishermen you are. As in the more difficult you make it on yourself, the more you limit what you can present to the fish, the higher your skills. May be some truth in that, and I find it kind of fascinating to ponder.
opencage, CO   5/17/2017 8:29:08 AM
I was just thinking, I don't fish live bait anymore, but then realized I use it every winter ice fishing. Lloyd your way seems pretty darn fun, seems to be incorporating a lot of different types of fishing all in one go. I know a similar process is used on rivers to catch big trout, lots of fun.
esoxrocks, CO   5/17/2017 10:44:18 AM
In a perfect fishing world I would catch every fish on a well placed topwater bait. Each fish would be hooked in the corner of the mouth, and I would be able to land fish, at will, everywhere I went. Now...back to reality. The fact is that sometimes "staying pure" is a recipe for not catching fish. So, if purity is your "prime directive", by all means go for it. Me? I'll be fishing in the most efficient manner I can...ideally with a plastic frog hopped over lilies, or nicely drifted dry...but maybe with a live shrimp dragged through eelgrass, or a leech jigged over a steep dropoff.
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX   5/17/2017 4:30:36 PM
I have a brand new pack of Berkley Gulp pumpkin green hellgramite soft baits that I'll be trying out in 30 minutes or so. I'm hoping for some bass and catfish interest...on my fly rod of course...