When Brett Isackson handed me the rod that was rigged and ready, I couldn’t believe my eyes the size of the lure that was tied on. We were deep in the heart of the Everglades on a day pushing all of 95 degrees with everything the sun had, and we were setting up on some fishy territory.
And we were about to throw… snakes. Yep, Isackson, a guide in the Everglades who has been plying these waters for more than a decade with the crew of guides at Bass Online, wanted me to sling snakes.
The soft-plastic bait, which Isackson makes himself, was every bit of 12 inches long and must have weighed at least 8 ounces. Isackson crafts the baits himself from melted down parts of other soft plastics. He has a microwave and molds, and churns out his custom baits every season. “The smell isn’t the best, so I have an agreement with my wife that my workshop’s in the garage. We don’t use the same microwave for food…” Isackson said matter-of-factly as i stared in disbelief at the baits. It had me thinking of potential other uses for a Buff, like pulling one up over your nose during certain angling endeavors.
The crazy part is that they worked. Eight bass, up to three pounds, emerged from the depths or from under the pads to crash the foot-long soft-plastic snakes, which we fished slowly in and around cover. In total we raised $11 more dollars for the Melanoma Research Foundation.
The experience opens your eyes to what a Florida bass will consider for its next meal and how thinking outside the box of your standard spinnerbaits and topwaters can be extremely productive, especially on highly pressured waters.
During the slower parts of the day, Isackson and I talked about having lost our fathers to cancer and the difficulty of readjusting to life thereafter. But like most fishermen, we didn’t let the past affect our future. We didn’t stop casting, hoping and believing.
And it paid off in a big way. You’ll have to stay tuned for the kicker fish that I was able to boat as the clock ran out on the day, but for now I’ll leave you thinking about snake-eating bass. Because they’re out there.