The incident that I’m about to describe happened when I was ten years old, yet I remember it like it was yesterday because it was such a remarkable event. I used to do most of my fishing as a child on Lake Oswego, near Portland, Oregon.
My grandparents lived on the lake because my grandfather loved to fish and drive his boat. My brother and I would swim and pilot the rowboat or even drive the motorboat. Last, but not least, we would also fish. Most of the time we would catch Perch and once in a while we would catch a Blue Gale. At night; sometimes after dark, we would hang our line close to shore and catch a catfish.
These days you have to be a multi-millionaire to afford to live on the lake, but back in the 50’s and 60’s it was mostly blue collar people who were like my grandfather and for one reason or another wanted to live on the water.
After we would swim for awhile, it was time for a rest, so our grandfather would get out his fishing equipment. My brother and I usually fished with a worm and a bobber. This involved sitting around and waiting, so it got boring real fast. Our grandfather would be forced to break out the casting rods.
My brother and I loved to cast. We never really thought that we would catch any fish because the triple hooks were just dangling from the lures with no worms to hide them. My brother and I had only caught fish with worms, so we were sure that if you wanted to catch fish, you used worms.
The lures that my grandfather had were made for bass, were three to five inches long and were all made out of wood, so they were pretty heavy. This heft combined with the way we cast, (we held the rods like baseball bats, then swung them overhand letting go of the line when the tip of the rod was at its highest point) allowed us to launch the lures 30 yards out into the lake. All in all, it was really a lot of fun. To my brother and I, casting was nearly as good a time as throwing rocks!
One day while I was casting, there was an extra big splash as my lure hit the water. I can still see that splash in my minds eye even though it happened over 40 years ago. As soon as the splash subsided, I realized that something was resisting as I tried to real in my line.
What had most likely happened was that the lure had landed right above the bass. The bass must have instinctively struck at the lure. The lure did its’ job of hooking the bass and I reeled him in. I was completely caught off guard. It only took a minute or two to reel him in, but to me it seemed like 10 or 15 minutes.
My grandfather ran into his basement and looked around until he found his fish scale, so he could weigh my bass. It came out to one and a half pounds. Surely, I thought, this can’t be right. I thought that it would be 40 or 50 pounds at least, but my grandfather assured me that one and half pounds was big for that lake.
That was the only time that I have ever caught a bass in that manner, but the experience taught me to always expect the unexpected while you are fishing.