I was taking two buddies fall turkey hunting about two years ago. We decided to camp on the farm I normally hunt and split up before sunrise the next day. I had also received permission to fish a nearby farmer’s pond which was large and stocked very well. We all agreed to meet at the pond after we got off work on Friday and fish until dark.
My buddies arrived before I did and began to wet their lines. One is a traditional bass fisherman and the other prefers the challenge of fly fishing. They called me while I was driving to say hurry up because the bite was amazing. Needless to say, I cut the 30 minute drive to about 15.
When I arrived, I discovered that the bass fisherman, John, was the only one landing fish. He was throwing buzzbait into open water and catching a fish with nearly every cast. The “fly guy,” Rodney, was patiently working the shallows with his favorite fly to no avail. I quickly rigged up a buzzbait and joined the fray. I, too, was landing quality bass with almost every cast.
As good friends and competitive sportsmen, John and I seized every opportunity to razz and ridicule our dedicated fly fishing pal. John offered to let him reel in one of his fish, and I complained about how tired I was getting from lifting all of these heavy fish. Rodney maintained his cool and focused on the task at hand. This entire act played out for nearly an hour. With nightfall quickly approaching and the need to establish camp, John and I packed up our gear and prepared to leave.
Suddenly, from the far side of the pond and in near darkness, screams let out like a man had been shot. They then became nearly feminine squeals of excitement as Rodney announced that he had hooked a huge fish. John and I began moving toward his location to see this “whale” (snicker, laugh) that our buddy was dragging in on a fly rod. Just as Rodney pulled the fish to within a few feet of the bank, his line snapped! The fish fell into a tangled mass of pond weed, and it apparently did not realize that his freedom was a flip or two away. You must understand that this was October in Kentucky where temperatures often drop into the 20s and 30s at night. This evening was no different. In an instant, despite the bitter cold, Rodney’s shoes flew off, and he waded in to retrieve his prize.
Rodney emerged from the bone chilling pond with a behemoth largemouth bass like I had never seen pulled from small water. On a spring scale, it weighed 8 pounds and 2 ounces, but based on the rust from the scale and the girth of this fish, we all agreed it was more. A primitive measurement of the fish revealed 24 inches. I don’t think Rodney felt the cold at that moment. His discomfort was trumped by his excitement and pride in the catch. The steady barrage of trash talk was silenced and we all joined in the celebration. Size balanced out quantity for us as friends and competitors, and we were all winners that night. It made for quite a campfire discussion and a lasting memory for some grown up little boys.
On a side note- despite freezing drizzle the next morning, I took the only turkey of the group. A jake seemed to appear out of nowhere and was on a mission to befriend my decoy. The friendship was brief and interrupted by the roar of my Mossberg. That tipped the scales back in my bragging direction and began an entirely new line of testosterone driven discussion.