October 5

The Thrill of Kayak Fishing

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The Thrill of Kayak Fishing

The Thrill of Kayak Fishing

7 a.m. at Clear Lake. You stretch your legs and lean into the backrest of your kayak seat. Your frog-shaped lure has been bobbing on the water’s surface for twenty minutes without so much as a nudge.

The wind rustles the golden leaves of the aspens, lulling you into a dreamless sleep on your kayak.

Blop! Blop! Blop! You jolt awake and the kayak sways slightly.

Blop! Blop! Blop! There it is, again. You look across the water. A silver cloud moves beneath the water. It’s a school of fathead minnows.

The minnows thrash their tails frantically. Even though you’re a good thirty feet away, you can see the silver of their unblinking eyes from across the lake. Something is hunting them.

The minnows leap out of the water and land on the water’s surface. Blop! Blop! Blop! You catch a glimpse of a dark green tailfin. Something is hunting them.

You grab your tackle box. This is the sign that you've been waiting for all day, the moment that makes the waiting worth it.

"Minnows, minnows," you mutter. You rummage through your tackle box so fast that you almost hook your thumb on a caddisfly lure. The bass are hungry, and it’s two-inch minnows on the menu.

You reel in your line and switch out your frog-shaped lure for a minnow jerkbait. You could only see the tailfin, but that bass looked large and mean. A ten-pounder? Fifteen?

You grab your paddle and steer in the direction of the minnows. If you had rented a motorboat, the roar of the engine would scatter the minnows, but in a kayak, you are silent.

The minnows leap near a broken-down pier. Bass are ambush predators. The broken planks and pillars of the old pier are the perfect structure for a bass to hide behind.

You cast your line and it lands without a sound 30 feet away. You slowly reel in the line, use stop-and-go reeling to make your minnow jerk like a dying fish.

Less than five minutes later, the bass bites your lure. The line tugs left and right as the fish tries to escape. Slowly, you reel in your line.

You raise your rod, and the smallest largemouth bass you’ve ever seen lifts out of the water. You quickly grab the bass. It may be small, but it put up a great fight.

You unhook the bass and lower it into the water. It gives your wrist an angry slap with its tail before swimming away. The minnows in the water disperse, surprised by the bass that suddenly dropped in the middle of their school.

The sun is a gold ribbon above the horizon. Most of the minnows will live another day, just as the bass that you caught. You grab your paddle and make your way back to the shore.

 It's a good day to be alive

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