The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Rick Brockway

August 3, 2012

Do the Jitterbug and wait until it's almost dark to tackle the really big fish

My wife wanted to go fishing the other day. She thought a few fresh fillets would really hit the spot.

I suggested we take our fly rods. After all, hard-hitting and savage-fighting fish on light tackle is a lot of fun.

Well, that's where it started.

On a small pond not too far from our house, we each cast flies upon the water. There were a few fish making dimples on the surface as they fed near shore. Occasionally, a bass would actually leave the water as it rose to take hovering dragon flies among the weeds.

We caught several fish as the sun started to set, but Pat was a little bored with the slow action.

"I need to get my other rod and use a black Jitterbug," she said. "They always worked good for me."

Well before long, I was back at the pond with her old spinning outfit and a plastic case full of lures. With a long cast diagonally across the pond, the old Jitterbug landed with a splat.

You could hear the lure twist back and forth on the surface of the pond. Pat would give the reel handle just half a turn and then wait, letting the lure sit quietly for a few moments.

The action and noise of the lure obviously got some interest from deep in the pond because the water suddenly exploded. A big largemouth bass came up from the depths and slammed the lure with a vengeance.

Before long, Patty brought the fighter to the shore. We carefully removed a mass of hooks from the fish's jaws and released it back into the water. In just a flash, the 2 1/2-pounder raced away into the deep, cool water.

While Pat cast back out, I hooked into a small bass not far up the shore.

Her very next cast was a repeat of the previous one. The lure landed on the other side of the pond and chattered back and forth as she reeled it in.

Bang! Another big fish nearly knocked the lure from the water. Those big bass don't miss very often. The well-worn Jitterbug disappeared below the surface and the fight was on.

Four of the six barbed hooks were lodged deep in the big fish's throat. We tried our best but were unable to get the hooks out without causing some damage. We decided that fish would be part of our dinner.

I caught quite a few fish on flies, but I guess you have to believe the old adage: Big bait gets big fish. We fished for a little more than an hour that day, and Pat landed seven bass that weighed more than two pounds apiece.

I kept a couple of the smaller fish to make a good meal for us. We rolled the fillets in flour and cornmeal and fried them for dinner. They were rather tasty.

There are many good bass ponds in the area. Some are just farm ponds, but others are tucked away in the woods. The latter are easily accessible, if you know where to look.

A friend of mine has been fishing several of the hidden ones between Oneonta and Milford and reports hooking into some really big fish. He likes huge dry flies just after dark.

Largemouth bass are fun to catch. They hit with a vengeance and really give you a great fight. Getting several two- or three-pounders is not that difficult. Try most any pond just before dark and what swallows your lure will definitely surprise you.

Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at

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