Lucky #21

S
sportsmanlio
The day after my 21st birthday, was the opening day of bow season this year. Just after lunch, I decided to take a break from hunting to hit up Howard Prairie Lake. As I drove down the access road to the lake, I saw my 21st deer of that day.

I began fishing, and soon caught my 2nd largest smallmouth ever! I was excited, so I kept fishing. Shortly thereafter, I snagged. Or so I thought. The snag suddenly began to pull, and I knew I had a large fish on.

The fish was stripping line, so I eased my drag tighter. It began to run, and in the crystal clear water, I saw the bass. It was huge! I had never caught one over a pound, and this was easily twice that! I saw it kept trying to run into a rockpile, so I tightened the drag again, and kept trying to pull the fishes head away.

Up to this point, the biggest smallie I'd ever seen was a fish about this size that my little brother hooked at McKay Reservoir in Pendleton. We were fishing on the dam, which was a 45 degree slope of concrete...allowing no flat areas to grab the fish. I tried lipping it, but it threw the hook into my finger and swam away.

The very night before I had my fish on (my 21st birthday), I had been fishing the Sprague with a friend, and he hooked into an 18-19" Redband that would have went about 2.5-3 lbs. We were on a high bank that was about 3' above the water, and we had no net. The fish was very fiesty, and the it was barely hooked. My friend didn't want to just lift it out of the water with his six pound test, so I tried to land it for him. I failed.

All this was running through my mind as I tried to land my fish.

About 2 minutes in, I thought, "I might actually land this!" Since I was fishing a rocky shoreline, there was basically no place to beach a large fish. Add to that the fact that I didn't have a net, and knew it would be tricky. Somehow, I had hooked into this fish in the one spot that had a gently sloping bank with small rocks. This 15' stretch on a 1/3 mile stretch of rocky shoreline was perfect!

I tightened the drag again, and went to land the fish. It ran again. I got it back to the bank, simultaneously lipped it and scooped it onto the bank. I then carried it 10 yards from the water to weigh and measure it. I was overjoyed.

It measured 16 3/4" long, and when I went to weigh it, I realized I'd left my scale in my dad's truck. I had a dilemma. Keep it to weigh/eat it, or let it go? I remember the days when Howard Prairie was an awesome trout lake, and that helped me justify keeping this illegally-introduced, non-native fish.

It weighed 2 lbs 1 oz, and was just one of the 21 fish I caught that day (I landed 19 smallmouths, 1 largemouth, and a redband in a nearby stream). I had caught my 2nd and 1st largest smallies ever.

With all those 21's, maybe I should have been celebrating with some blackjack in Vegas...actually, I'm glad I was fishing! :D
 
S
Spydeyrch
Dude, you need to see the movie 21 with Jim Carrey!! It will drive you crazy!!!!

Oh, and congrats on those fish and happy b-day!! :D

-Spydey

Opps, My bad. the film is called: The Number 23. But still, you should watch it! hahah :lol:
 
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S
sportsmanlio
I'll check it out...thanks! Congrats on 500 posts, by the way!
 
D
devhow
Sounds like you had a blast! I still haven't caught anything that large. I can't wait!

What did you catch it on?
 
S
sportsmanlio
It was very fun. Believe it or not, I caught it on a spinner! I always try using senkos, swimbaits, and topwaters for about 30 minutes to an hour in an effort to catch big ones, but I usually get bored and switch to spinners or small jigs. I have a great time catching 25-50 small bass, and I don't expect anything big.

To be honest, I've fished this area since I was little, and I've never seen anyone ever catch a big bass there. I know there are a ton of nice largemouths in the boat basin, but the resort ownership doesn't allow fishing there...
 
D
devhow
If it's not too much trouble, would you mind taking a picture of a couple of your favorite spinners and posting it? That helps us novices.

Thanks!
 

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