Bass have never been my specialty. But they are the fishing focus for a lot of anglers. Personally, I'd rather load up on panfish or walleyes. These are much better tasting fish in my opinion.
It's not a knock on bass by any stretch. Some eat them and really enjoy them, but they just aren't my thing.
For maximum fun, however, both largemouth and smallmouth are tough to beat. And even white bass, which many consider a nuisance, are a riot to catch. As far as fighting ability, pound-for-pound bass are tough to beat. And I guess that's why a lot of people focus on them.
Often when I get a bass, it's by accident while trying for bluegills or crappies. And I'm fine with that, especially if I'm hitting them on ultra light gear.
And recently, I had a banner day catching bass.
My Father's Day weekend included a trip up to Crivitz with my wife to take care of a trailer we own there. I managed to sneak in some fishing on Saturday morning on Lake Noquebay and pulled in some nice 8-inch bluegills, along with some perch, a crappie and bass in the 13- to 14-inch range. Not monsters, but when you hit them on light panfish gear, it's hard to not have a smile on your face when you get one. But this action was short-lived. Storms moved into the area and drove me off the lake. We ended up driving home early in the afternoon after taking care of our yard.
Later that day though after arriving home and talking to my friend Jim Kuester and his son, Hunter, we decided to hit Crystal Lake in pursuit of bluegills. It didn't work out for us though, as the bluegills weren't cooperating. Sure, we got some, but the bass were the highlight of the evening.
It's not like we switched up our tactics at all, either. We continued to try for bluegills, but the bass were there and they hit our mini-mite jigs and night crawlers under the slip bobbers or the 1/32 ounce jigs tipped with crawlers. It didn't matter what we cast. And we made the most of it.
We didn't get fishing show class bass (4- and 5-pounds - 10-pounders are just a dream for guys like us), but we did get a number of them that went anywhere from 13- to 15 1/2-inches. I lost one that decided to make a run under the boat that likely went about 18. This clearly would have been the biggest fish of the night, but it wasn't meant to be.
Was it fun? It was one of the best bass nights I've had in some time, even if the panfish didn't show up. And, again, storms moved in just after we got back to the launch and we dodged more torrential rain. This was like the fourth time of the year we've pulled that off.
And that's one of the beautiful things about fishing. Sometimes your fish of choice doesn't cooperate. I've never been one who is big on surprises, but there are exceptions and bass are one of them.
I'll take them anytime I can get them.