While my days on the water are likely done for 2017, that doesn’t mean that I can’t tell a few fish stories. What follows are some excerpts from Thanksgiving 2006 and my quest for a milestone. Looking for Bass #2,000 of what I called the “Computer Age.” And here’s the Thanksgiving fish story.
Spoiler Alert – Bass #2,000
“Bass number one of ‘the computer age’ made its way into the database on March 21, 1997 at 5:04 pm. It fell to a blue glimmer spinnerbait on Duck/Deer Lake at Little John and measured eleven inches in length. By November 22, 2006, I had spent over 900 hours chasing bass and stood five fish shy of 2000. Fortunately, me and my girls were headed for Buckheart south of Canton, IL to celebrate Thanksgiving, the weather forecast was favorable and I had permission to fish.
On the morning of November 23rd I spent a fair amount of time wandering around a good-sized strip pit before settling on an area that featured a lengthy stretch of bank containing numerous beaver lodges, probably my favorite piece of structure. After losing a small northern pike on a dew worm hung from a bobber, bass number 1,996 inhaled my jig and pig as I hopped it around some debris on the bottom. I was unable to fool any others on the lake and also was blanked on a smaller pond nearby. While fishing, I crossed paths with my brother-in-law, David Breuer, who was goose hunting and he suggested that I try a spot where we had success earlier this fall.
His advice produced three bass in less than fifteen minutes. All of the fish hit my Rattlin Jig (black/blue) with a #11 pork frog (blue) as I worked a beaver lodge. The second of the three fish joined the record book at a respectable 2-15. Another half hour on the lake failed to produce a bite and I headed for Thanksgiving dinner. I couldn’t help but wonder if fate would be so unkind as to leave me one bass shy of my goal. However, I still held out hope that I could entice one more bite the following day.
Thanksgiving Day 2006 bass at 2-15 on jig & pig (black/blue)
I reached the beaver lodge at 8:12 am on the 24th and quickly retied my jig and pig as I eagerly awaited my first cast. I didn’t have to wait long as only seconds after my jig hit the bottom I felt the familiar tap of a hungry bass. I reared back to hammer the hooks home on number 2,000…and missed. In the seconds that followed I felt the despair of potentially missing my shot, possibly uttered a few uncharacteristic and colorful words and began to reel in my lure for another cast. To my surprise, a bass suddenly appeared out of nowhere and slammed the jig as rode inches below the surface. I’m not sure exactly what happened next but I would have to give the bass credit for hooking itself as I think I kind of went on autopilot before winding up with a firm grip on the lip of number 2,000.
Looking at my watch, I recorded the time at 8:13 am. I proceeded to measure the length of the bass and it was documented at 13 inches. Having met my 12-inch minimum criteria for a weight measurement I reached for my scale despite already knowing the result before making it official. I’ve seen a few bass in my day and can usually give a reasonable, fairly unbiased estimate. In this instance, I was right on the money.
The fish weighed in at 13 ounces.
You see if I had to pick a favorite number, it would be 13, which I would admit to inheriting from Dad. It’s on my license plate ’13Troy’, similar to his “13 Dad”. He sported the number on various athletic jerseys over the years, as did I when it was available. Therefore, it seemed fitting that my quest would end upon landing a 13-inch, 13-ounce bass at 13 minutes after eight o’clock in the morning.
As thankful for this “lucky” bite as much as any bass I’ve ever fooled, dig the beaver lodge in the background, classic piece of bass fishing structure and my favorite
After snapping a couple photos of what would coincidentally be (believe it or not) my 113th 13-inch bass, I decided to work the area for a few more minutes. I managed to get one more bite but busted off on the hookset despite retying after number 2,000. Following a few more half-hearted casts I decided to head back to the guesthouse. I’d spent fifteen minutes on the lake and left satisfied upon having reached my goal. The 2006 season had been good to me and I didn’t care if I had to wait until 2007 to begin the pursuit of my 3,000th bass.”
Happy Thanksgiving to all, let me know if you find any of your own bass during this extended turkey weekend. Talk to you later. Troy