A Pound, A Dollar, A Start!

The first largemouth of the trip, caught on a live shiner. That's a dollar for cancer research.
The first largemouth of the trip, caught on a live shiner. That’s a dollar for cancer research.

A single punched through the gap, on the scoresheet, doesn’t appear to be much. It’s a commonplace occurrence in Major League Baseball.

But if you’re watching the game closely, and that single breaks up a no-hitter, it becomes much more than that. This largemouth, for me, was that single.

I’m going to call it a pound because I think it was all of that, and if it needed the few ounces of shiner it tried to swallow to get there, well it had it, if only briefly.

After that single in a baseball game, everything changes. I hope that’s the case for me.

In Upstate New York, where I’m from, we don’t often fish shiners for largemouths because truthfully, the bass aren’t likely to be big enough to take down a three or four-inch bait. But down here in Florida everything is different. So I talked to some local experts at the tackle shops here on Okeechobee and they told me shiners were the way to go. With an aerated bucket and some tips on places to fish, I hit the road.

As the sun was sinking into the lake, this crazy bass tried to take down one of my shiners and made a run. The no-hitter was officially done. And I’ve been fortunate in my 29 years to catch bass everywhere from New York to Maine to Georgia, out to California and up in Washington and just about everywhere in-between, but this one will be tough to beat.

Thanks to the people at Buff this will be a dollar toward the Melanoma Research Foundation, maybe a dollar fifty if they buy into a few extra ounces.

I’d never fished live shiners so I experimented with different rigging methods to keep them alive and swimming as long as possible, and found that a hook through the dorsal fin was a good way to keep them nose down and moving around.

Bass bars? Why don't they have these everywhere?
Bass bars? Why don’t they have these everywhere?

The hits (pounds) can keep coming now that the jinx is up. I’ll remember this fish for the rest of my life, I do believe. I capped off the night by talking to some serious fishermen at Lunker’s Sports Bar. This place, from the moment you walk in, is a largemouth lover’s dream. It’s a testament to how serious they are about their bass down here and it was a great place to hang out and talk fish. Something tells me I’ll be back.

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