Snakebit

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I’ve spent a lot of my time on the water over the last month helping out-of-town friends chase snakeheads, so when I had a free day to fish on Friday I was determined to chase bass only. Nevermind the fact that the mercury was expected to tickle the hundred degree mark, without a lick of wind, I was going all in on Micropterus — at least until I ran out of Gatorade and water.

 During a low tide period the prior Saturday my friends and I had seen dozens of bass swimming around in a confined area, so that’s where I started and it paid off with a solid morning. The bass chewed topwaters, a dropshot and a Chatterbait, and having OD’ed on snakey during the prior trips, I generally avoided casting to places where I expected them to be. I saw two gargantuan specimens lolling in the outer edge of the grass and likewise resisted their allure. After putting in so much effort to put my friends on the prehistoric invasives, now I was putting an equal effort into staying away from them.

 I left around 1:00 p.m. to fish some docks, and when that didn’t pan out I headed to another small creek where we’d caught four or five bass on Sunday while snakehead hunting. I made it two-thirds of the way into the creek without a bite and was about to turn around when a sub-legal bass smoked my Chatterbait, so I kept going. Then I caught a 13-incher, and a 2-pounder shortly thereafter. I worked back toward the mouth as the tide reached its nadir, and caught three more.

At that point, with the tide bottomed out, and only one drink left in the cooler, I could’ve successfully called it a day. I didn’t have anything to prove — as it was I turned out to be the last bass boat trailer in the parking lot. Nevertheless, it’s rare that I have such a small area to myself on the river when I know there are fish nearby, so I turned the boat 180 degrees for one more pass.

It turned out to be a good decision because the first patch of spatterdock produced another 2-pounder. I made it 10 more yards before I saw something bolt out from the vegetation and smoke my lure again. Upon setting the hook, I saw the smallest snakehead I’ve caught to date, but a snakehead nonetheless. When I was trying to catch them, they proved remarkably elusive, but on the one day when I made a conscious effort to avoid them, I could not get away unscathed.