I had planned to write an article on drop shotting for the month of November. It's
a great technique that is just now hitting the fishing world as a way to catch bass
when other techniques fail. It kind of reminds me of the resurgence of the
Carolina rig. But, then a weird thing happened, and believe it or not, I felt inspired
to write about something totally different. Here is how the story goes: 

I got home from work last night (Oct 31), having had a horrible day. For those
that don't know, I am a Physical Education Teacher in an Elementary School,
and Halloween can be brutal: 500 kids in a small confined area all running on a
major sugar high. So anyway, I get home and my wife shows up a little bit later
and says she wants me to go to the grocery store with her and pick up a movie to
watch after dinner. The day wasn't getting any better, but that is what we did.
Now you are probably thinking, "ole Deitz has lost his marbles once and for all.
What does this have to do with fishing?" NOTHING...But wait... 

The movie we rented was FREQUENCY with Dennis Quad and Jim Caviezel, a
new release. The movie is about a 36 year old cop who digs out an old Ham
Radio while reminiscing about the 30 year anniversary of his father's death. After
he plugs it in, he hears a voice. I don't want to ruin the movie because it was a
great movie, but the persons voice turns out to be his father 30 years ago on the
day before he died, and while he is talking on the Ham Radio to his father he is
able to tell him not to go down a hallway of a burning building and it saves his
life. That is no where near the end of the movie, nothing has been revealed, and I
recommend the movie to anyone. But enough about the movie. It made me think,
"what if you could talk to yourself from the past?" What if... 

This summer I had a tournament on a lake in central Minnesota called Clearwater
Lake. My partner Jeff Audette and I found some good fish while pre-fishing the
week before. Early in the morning of the tournament I caught a real nice 4+
pound fish and was able to add to it an almost identical fish later in the day. I then
was able to work to fill my limit with some decent keeper fish. If you go back to
my home page you will see a picture of these 2 fish. Halfway down the page I am
holding them in a crouched position with a great big smile on my face, I had just
weighed them in and found out that we had placed 6th. Here is where the movie
comes back in... About 10:30 in the morning, Jeff and I were fishing a shoreline
with a nice drop off with weed clumps on the edge. I was throwing a Exude
Spider Grub while Jeff in the back of the boat was throwing a R.T.Slug (Fluke
type bait). I saw a weed clump and made a real nice flip to the very edge of it. I
felt the tick right away, and set the hook. I didn't know that when the fish hit, he
had made a small run towards the boat. So that when I set the hook, I hit mostly
air, but did manage to hook the fish. The battle lasted about 10 seconds and
finished with a very large bass jumping out of the water and throwing the hook.
We missed the money that tournament by only 2 ounces. That fish would have
easily put us in second place. I wish I could have gone back on that Ham Radio
and talked to myself to say...."Hey, dummy, your going to get a bite at 10:30, its
going to be a great fish, be sure to reel in the slack before you set the hook
because the fish is going to run at the boat". Then that great picture I have on my
home page would have had me holding 3 fish and not just the 2. 

There was another time, shortly after I had got my first bass boat, that my
girlfriend (we were not married yet) and I were going to go for a boat ride and
maybe do a little fishing. I put the boat in, parked the truck and just as we were
leaving the boat landing I hit a big rock with the prop because I had let the boat
get a little to close to shore. And for those in the know, the price of a new prop
seriously puts a dent in the beer money funds when both you and your girlfriend
are in college. Again, I wish I could have just been able to tell myself, " make
sure you push off the dock and putt putt away from shore, and don't plane out the
boat till after you are sure the prop won't hit." 

Oh sure, there are plenty of things that are unavoidable. However, in both
instances above, I knew better. I know to that in order for there to be a solid
hook set, I need to have the line taught, that way you can take the energy of the
rod to make the hook penetrate the jaw of the bass. I know its possible for a fish
to run after a hit, because he is sitting in ambush waiting an attack and hits out of
reaction of something that just fell into his lair. I know these things, but did I reel
down and feel for pressure? No. I didn't, I was caught up in the excitement of the
tournament, And possibly had let my skills lack because I hadn't got a bite in over
an hour. And for the love of fishing, I knew it was shallow at that boat landing,
Everybody knows there is a great big shallow flat that runs out about 60 yards out
in the lake. But, again I was caught up in the moment, sitting in a new (well new
to me at least) boat with my girlfriend, beautiful night, and bammo, bent prop. 

There are certain things you shouldn't have to go back and tell yourself to do... 

#1 Make sure you take in slack line before you set the hook. #2 Make sure you
have plenty deep water before you put the boat on plane. #3 Retie often. #4
Recharge your t-motor batteries, it stinks being stuck on the lake with not enough
battery. #5 Make sure your hooks are sharp. #6 Xcetra...Xcetra...Xcetra... 

You know what I am getting at. Make a list of things that you have done, that
you really don't want to do again. And maybe, just maybe, next year I'll flip a jig
along a weed clump and feel a 'tick', and I'll hear my own little Ham Radio "hey
Dummy, make sure the line is taut before you set the hook, this is the fish that is
missing from that picture!"

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