As the sun rises you are preparing to make your first cast for the day. Picking up your rod your eyes focus on the target, a small dark pocket under a tree. The first cast into any spot has a little excitement attached to it and is always done with an expectation of landing “The One”.
The rod feels comfortable in your hand; you have done this so many times, and still focused on the small pocket you are standing up behind the steering wheel. Putting your foot on the trolling motor is followed by a smooth and accurate pitch into the target area. Slow sinking plastic bumps and bounces of the limbs of the underwater tree and then stops; or did it? A slight pull and you step back on the deck, dropping the rod tip and setting the hook with everything the moment allows.
The water explodes under the tree and it is game on. Pulling, tugging and manoeuvring him out from under the tree. You see him for the first time and after swinging him onboard you look at him like it’s the first bass you have ever seen.
This is the reason why we leave home at 04:00 and drive the worst roads, sleep in some dodgy places and freeze our arms off. We need to be honest… we are addicted.
After pitching and casting that bank to pieces, the life jacket comes out and the outboard whisks you off to another hopeful spot. Grass flats and lily pads invite a long cast. A popping frog jumps over them to see what lurks below. A longer rod gets picked up and it “hisses” as a power cast sends a lure travelling through the air. You start retrieving as soon as the lure hits the water. Two, three, four lilies crossed before the water boils up and something jumps on your presentation. Now the fight is on. “Turn his head” someone shouts; reminding you how you have lost a similar fight before.
A great bucket mouth comes from under the grass and acknowledges that the fight is over. Photos are taken, short videos are made and stuff posted next to your wedding photos on Facebook and Instagram for everybody to see. That is what fishing should be. There should be excitement when reversing your boat into the water and walking up to a farm dam as the sun comes up, rod in hand.
So after reading all of this and remembering those great days on the lake, with friends or your kids you look at all the rods hanging on the wall. Strange how a rod has its own personality. Now before you think I’m crazy, think about it. Every rod bought and fished and broken sticks in your mind. Good reels seem to always find their way onto a favourite rods and the time spent together.
So, should that not be the way that you buy gear. Buying really cheap obviously will have its own problems and disappointments, but buying something that feels right for you should normally be perfect.
The most expensive is not always the answer. I brought in some rods from the USA a couple of years ago and they were supposed to be the only thing you should use when fishing tournaments. Spending way too much and after all the trouble, having to admit to myself that they were horrible, I realized that I am comfortable using my current rods.
So, when a rod pitches straight, or casts a mile it sounds like you have a perfect fit. Yes, it is very nice when you can feel the bottom or the expression on the crabs face that you are passing, but it is not everything. Enjoy your fishing.
I watched someone cast an in line spinner of a R130,000.00 bass boat and life was good again. Those baits used to catch many fish in the past and we ditched them for the latest and greatest releases from all over the world.
Do what you feel is right; cast where you want to; cast what you want to and get rid of the bassin’ rule book and just enjoy being out there.
Written by Colin Wilmer