Any Given Sunday

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This past weekend marked the second consecutive year that my friend Clifford Wiedman flew here straight after ICAST in order to chase northern snakeheads — and for the second straight year I was glad that he committed two days to the project because once again Saturday turned out to be a bust.

It’s not that we didn’t have chances, we just didn’t have great chances. 

I had one crush a buzzbait about 10 minutes into the fishing day, and depending on who you ask he was either a short-sighted SOB, or else I jerked the lure away from him far too fast. The truth doesn’t matter, though, because nothing made it to the net. After that we had follows. We had sightings. We had fish showing their fins and menacing mirages. We just didn’t touch fish slime, except for a couple of stupid bass — 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. and nothing to show for it.

I got home that night and just like last year I was pretty depressed about the whole deal. He said there was no pressure, but he’d flown all the way up here and taken the weekend to get the job done. He could’ve been home watching YouTube videos or playing Pac Man. I barely made it through the medium rare rib eye that my wife Hanna cooked on the Traeger, plus a piece of her cherry pie (with vanilla ice cream) before falling asleep in a self-pitying funk.

Once again, Sunday proved to be a better day. It wasn’t quite as good as last year, when he landed an 11-pounder and a 13-pounder to go with two smaller ones that I caught, but at least we got the monkey off our backs early. He caught a snakehead in the first half hour. I caught one not that long after. Then the redheaded pie baker got one of her own. In fact it was her personal best.

After that, it didn’t bother me that we went a long time without landing another snakey. I was even able to enjoy the two limits of bass that we put in the boat without trying. The extra snakehead that Clifford caught at 2pm by making a long perfect cast three time straight was just a bit of lagniappe. It had blown up on his Top Toad twice before finally committing, and he muscled it through a jungle of pads and hydrilla before Hanna netted it.

He’s welcome back any time, but if he sets aside a complete weekend, maybe next go-round we’ll tour the monuments or catch a movie on Saturday. It doesn’t seem like he needs to fish then to have a successful trip.