A Passion for Topwater Fishing

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Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on A Passion for Topwater Fishing

It’s early in the morning around 6 AM as I quietly coast onto my favorite grass flat and slowly ease the trolling motor into the water. I think to myself, “can’t believe no one else is here”. There is just something mystical yet peaceful about early mornings, grass flats, and a good rod and reel.

The bay water is calm almost like a sheet of glass and perfect for working a topwater lure across some shallow grass potholes. Whenever I pick up my rod it’s become a habit to check the leader and knot before making that first cast. “First fish for a buck” I tell myself as the lure zips away landing softly some seventy-feet away.

Watching intently as the ripples gently disappear, I begin an unhurried retrieve with the competence I’ve used a million times before. I use a “walk-the-dog” retrieve learned years ago fishing large mouths with my dad. This action makes the lure bob back and forth from side to side with each twitch and reel and instinctively pausing to see if something is following. When starting again, keep it very subtle, using light twitches barely making a ripple.

Standing quietly on the bow and thinking I have done this a thousand times and know exactly what to expect”. Never the less, I’m never quite ready for the explosive strikes and adrenaline rush associated with topwater fishing.

That thought barely clears my mind when it happens. Exploding from beneath water like a surfacing submarine on an emergency maneuver, a trophy Snook takes the lure. There was no waiting to feel the fish before setting the hook. The line tightened instantly, the rod bent almost double, and my heart pounded as if running for my life.

A little composure would be nice about now I thought as the drag screamed and the line cutting the water like a blade. This is a big one I thought as I came to the realization that it’s just me and her this morning and no one else. I know I can win this battle I just have to remember everything I’m always teaching others about landing a big fish. You know all those everyday subconscious things that whisk through your mind:

1. Keep the rod tip down avoiding those lure throwing jumps
2. Use the trolling motor to keep her out front
3. Don’t reel against the drag
4. Not too much pressure
5. Did I lock the car?
6. Did I leave the lights on?
7. Did I make the house payment?

Almost as quickly as it started, I sensed tiredness in my opponent as I gained line with each turn of the handle. What seemed like an hour actually took only minutes. Stepping off the bow into the cockpit, I got my first good look at this magnificent fish. With the sun breaking over downtown Tampa, she was resting quietly alongside the boat. No need to lift her into the boat I thought she was tired enough without the added stress. So still in the water she lays as I gently support her from underneath while removing the lure. My hook came out easily because I always bend down the barbs.

Still supporting her and gently holding her bottom lip with my thumb, I stare into those superb brown eyes as she builds strength with every breath. Soon I feel her muscles tense, her tails moving gently back and forth… she’s almost ready. Removing my thumb, she makes a quick thrust and scoots away… a little tired but in good shape.

Standing there alone thinking about this remarkable experience, I glanced around at the marvels of nature and reflecting that the human race can do miraculous things but it took someone or something much greater than us to provided all this.

No photo necessary…the fish gods smiled on me today and I’ll remember this wonderful opportunity to catch such a marvelous fish.

Mornings and times on the water like this make everything worthwhile. I shudder to think that someday this will be lost forever. Our ever-exploding population and quest for the all mighty dollar will ultimately destroy any remaining natural resources we often take for granted. I you do not think it is not already happening

just look around for any virgin waterfront land.

It is everyone’s responsibility to protect these precious and environmentally sensitive natural resources. If we do not accept the task… who will?

This article is owned by Capt. Woody Gore and is copyright protected. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by Capt. Gore. wgore@ix.netcom.com