The Surprise Hitchhiker.
On a windy day in March, 2001 I decided to try my luck at a local pond where I’ve caught many nice bass.
Because the pond is surrounded by a fenced-in pasture, it does not allow easy access or the ability to launch a personal boat. Normally, I just use a canoe that the owner leaves on the bank. The pond is only 3-4 acres in size, so it’s perfect for easing around the edges in a canoe.
On this day, however, the wind was blowing so bad it made it hard to navigate the canoe without getting pushed around. I had just shoved off and was finding it difficult to make any headway. The wind pushed me against the dam end of the pond, where the bank is brushy and has several trees and floating limbs piled up next to the bank.
At one point, the canoe careened into a floating limb right next to the bank, and suddenly the water exploded! I caught only a blur of a fish leaping out of the water next to the canoe, and the next thing I knew, it had landed in the boat at my feet! This was no ordinary fish either – it was a 7.5-lb. bass!
The bass was thrashing wildly beneath my feet as I sat there in disbelief. I had only been out in the water a minute or two and had not even made the first cast!
The pond owner’s 11-year-old grandson had walked down to the pond’s edge and seen all the commotion. I paddled over to him and showed him my “catch.” He excitedly asked me what I was going to do with the bass, and I told him I was going to release it. He begged me to let him pretend that HE caught it, and then he ran up to his grandpa’s house with the fish to show it off.
In a minute or so, Grandpa, Dad, and a few others came down to pond to tell me about the fish. After teasing them for a moment longer, I had to tell them the truth, and everyone had a good laugh. We took a couple of pictures and released the fish.
Word spread quickly among my friends about the fish that jumped into the boat, and I’ve had a good time retelling the story. I fish a lot (my nickname is Kingfish), and so I would have no reason to exaggerate this story. As a matter of fact, most fisherman might claim that they caught it on a hook and line.
Regarding the incident, the only theory I have is that with the pressure dropping, wind, etc., the bass was holding tight to the cover until the bump of the canoe startled it. Whatever the reason, it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I’ll always enjoy the memory of it.
Published in: Gardening