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PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:18 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 231
Location: Orlando!
Been since August when I’ve wet a line last. I live in Orlando but my passion is found on the flats of the Mosquito Lagoon, stalking Redfish. In order to knock the rust off before finally making the trip last week, I visited a local lake and did a shakedown and got the juices flowing again.

March in Florida usually means spawning bass but I didn’t see any obvious beds though the water was very clear. A warm winter may have induced an early spawn. No matter, that’s not my style of fishing anyway. Better to leave them unmolested as they go about producing the next generation of gamefish. Hitting the water late morning kept my expectations realistic as I fired up the weightless fluke to work the weed edges. In short order I was obliged with a nice boil, and as usual, though unusual, the fish started trekking to deeper water. Take up the slack, hit him 3 times in rapid succession (10lb braid w 20lb flouro leader) and no sooner than the fish starts to fight, my lure comes flying back at me. Oh well, getting them to bite is half the battle so I’m halfway there, right?

The next two fish, though a bit smaller, weren’t as fortunate because the hook stuck, and after a fun, short fight, were in the boat. Now in all my 4 decades of freshwater fishing, I’ve maintained a hate affair with lily pads. As bassy as they appear, they hold no charms for me. They never seem to have as much fish as they look like they should, and I can probably count on one or two hands the number of fish I’ve taken from them. What I can’t count is the number of times I’ve been broke off, tangled up, and lost lures to the blasted things. But I come up on this spot.

It’s a weed line that makes a roughly 90 degree angle towards a boat dock some 20 yards away. The dock is out of play, but there’s a patch of my old nemesis dotting the corner making for a juicy convergence of several ideal situations. Carefully I work the outer edges of this corner, mindful to keep my line away from the ever threatening Vs where the stem meets the pad and the curses meet the air. Not getting stuck, but not getting hit, either. I’m reluctant to cast behind the pads, but something won’t let me leave this place until it’s been thoroughly vetted. So there it goes, a long cast a good 7 yards behind the cluster, right on the edge of the weed line. The first order of business as always is to steer the fishing line away from the grabby maws of the lily pads. As soon as that’s done my attention turns to the business end of the line just in time for the telltale boil of water where my lure was. A quick 2 count and the hook is set.

I’ve always averaged better hookups with Texas rigs or any setup where the barb is buried inside the plastic by using several quick strikes, reeling a bit of line in between, instead of one big Bassmaster special of a hookset. This time it yields a solid hookup with a solid problem- there’s a clump of lily pads and some maiden cane between myself and the decent fish on the end of the line. There is a small chance the fish will veer wide to the right and take the boat channel out to play in the deeper water, bypassing the salad altogether, but almost as a test of faith and skill it chooses not to do so. It won’t be the first time I’ve had to navigate a hooked fish through and in the proximity of daunting structure. And when they can be coaxed to cooperate I’ll play them out in a safe area, letting them tire, then quickly bring them through the thick stuff. But this guy wasn’t gonna have it and the pads were just too close so that’s where it went. I did my job to keep the line high and tight but not too tight, and the bass and the braid did their job. There was just enough touch and go to make it really exciting without one of those anti-climactic “I have to dig my bass out of a 50 lb glob of tangled seaweed and fishing line, (We’ve all been there,) and then it popped out the front side, completely intact! Not wanting to tempt more fate with the maiden cane, I enlisted the help of the trolling motor and backed that sucker right through, out into open water. A brief tussle boatside to get the rest of the piss and vinegar out of him and he was mine. A couple quick pics and a measurement (17”) and he swam away just fine, to share with his buds the opposite perspective I’m sharing here.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:32 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2005 7:32 pm
Posts: 406
Location: Out There
Braided line and heavy baitcasting rig for the weeds. Guys around here use weedless lures("The Cheater") and cast directly into the thickest weeds imaginable.

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