It has been a year, and I have only caught two bass from the comfort of my watercraft friend Nellie. I am beginning to wonder what the problem is. Is it me? Is it Nellie? Is it my choice of the lures? Is it the lake? Is it the fish? Is it the weather? Or is it all of the above.

I have purchased several types of fish attractants. Only because nothing in the previous paragraph has worked so maybe the fish need something to smell besides the factory default plastic.

In the offseason, Nellie has gotten a lot of updates. After many months of waiting, I have finally gotten the Feelfree overdrive pedal system. I installed the entire system and I only had one small problem. I cut the bungee cord side of the rudder line a little bit too short. I added a small extra piece of bungee and it works like a charm now. The seat adjustment kit was one of the easiest to install. I am having problems with the shims in the hole for the pedal drive. I have added some low-grade adhesive padding and it is ripping, tearing and falling apart with every installation and removal of the pedal drive. I will have to it rip off completely and reinstall the padded insulation almost every other outing. There has to be a better quality padded insulation that will not fall apart. Once I put it in, the swaying of the pedal drive left and right while pedaling, was reduced significantly.

Knowing that I was going to lose the storage pod for the battery that goes to the fish finder, I knew I had to buy the Hobie thru-hull kit in order to pass the wires through the kayak walls and put the battery in the front hatch. Being afraid to drill holes in a floating vessel, I got the courage to hide the wires and not wimp out and just let them hang out of the unclosed hatch lid. I already did that once. With heavy winds and a couple wind driven small waves, I took on some water. The installation went well and it works perfectly.

I wanted to upgrade the anchor trolley from the do-it-yourself version that I put together. It worked, but it was flapping all over the place and not staying where I wanted it to. So I decided to buy a professional anchor trolley system. Again, I had to drill holes in the side of the kayak but I added silicone to the holes and the outside of the screws holes and I do believe it works just fine.

I am contemplating purchasing an anchor wizard low profile in order to lower and raise the anchor in a better way than the manual way I already have been which is a total pain. I think I can wait until my birthday this summer.

I have not been posting any blog posts or any videos because of the beginning of this article, where Nelly and I are having problems catching fish. I cannot keep track of how many times I have been skunked on the water yet somehow I find the will and want and challenge to get out there again and again. Like the old man and the sea, or On Golden Pond, trying to catch Walter knowing that Walter exists somewhere out there and the day you’re there might be the day that you catch Walter. All with the fruitful four lettered sailor talk that takes over with every empty-handed frustrated trip.

With the beginning of spring, most of my fishing has come from shore and from the dock at my favorite fishing hole. I have caught many great bluegills and crappy from the dock. Here are a few photos of my catch.

I recently went on a Reunion to my childhood campground and met some childhood camper friends and counselors as well as the family that owns the camp. It was really nice to see all of them again. I asked on the Facebook forum if the fishing was any good on the very small pond/lake. I got a response back that said: “I got a fish every time I put my line in the water”. Oh, how you don’t say that to a fishing freak!!

To make a long story short, the bluegill and bass were easy to spot leisurely swimming at the water’s edge. Big ones, little ones and every other size in between. Then there were the bass monsters. Big ones and small ones aimlessly swimming near the shore and out in the middle.

The bluegill were enjoying the white crappy nibbles, but that only worked for a while. One of my reels broke and I took a break. After grabbing a water and conversation, I went back to the water’s edge. I started using the worms that I brought with me and the bluegill went crazy. After a while, I was tempted to catch the bass swimming alongside the bluegill. I noticed that there were salamanders swimming around and the bass ignored them. Stupidly I put a famously working plastic lure of a dark brown brush hog on my line with no weight – looking like a salamander. The bass simply ignored it. I pulled it off and with no breeze, I decided to pull out the legendary whopper popper.

I had used to the plopper one other time and saw a small bass swipe at it. At this small pond, the bass went crazy after the little popping sound. From the talk of the Facebook group, I was only prepared for 6-pound test line for bream. I was not prepared for bass, plus the fact that there were sticks and brush at the waters edge to nick and slice straight through the line. My percentage of keeping a big fish hooked up was slim to none.

When the bass bit the whopper plumper there was no if and or butts about it and they immediately fought very hard. I reeled in a couple nice sized bass. It was getting late and most everyone had already left the open house. Making my last couple throws with the plopper, the 5-pound bass that lurked in the underwater brush, lept out and swiped at the plopper. I tried hard to keep it out the brush and pull it up out of the water but alas my line snapped and the monster took my whopper plopper with it stuck in its face. Anyone who loses a $17 lure knows the sadness that goes along with that. I said farewell in my heart and my mind to the whopper. But mother nature and her fishing gods smile upon me. Ninety seconds later, the fish jumped up out of the water and spit out the whopper plopper and it floated on top of the water easy for the taking.

With the help of an older camper and new friend of fishing, we both grabbed a kayak and a paddle out of the old cabin by the water to rescue the abandoned lure. With a successful retrieve of the lure, I decided it was time to call an epic fishing day and childhood reunion goodbye.

Featured Image by Stefanus Martanto Setyo Husodo on Unsplash