Tony Barletta
South Plainfield NJ
I was testing out a new reel/lure combo I had gotten the day before. I spent most of my time trying to hit dock corners looking for largemouth. I had no luck so I moved to a rocky shallow that I know for smallies. It was getting dark, around 8:45 pm. I was starting to space out. Cast, wait, retrieve with a pause. But this time I never got to the pause – slam! When I set the hook I felt some weight but not that much (a large rock bass?) Then it pulled hard – headed to the surface and jumped. I saw a huge profile – a white belly and bronze sides – a smallmouth. As I struggled with him, he jumped again – and then a third time. The whole time my pole tip is in the lake, desperately trying to keep him in the water. “I’m going to lose him” – runs through my mind more than once. I get him near the boat and he dives straight down. I feel tough with 12 lb test so I hold strong. I give just a little but break his momentum. Up and down a few more times and I finally get him in the boat. It was so dark that only then did I realize how big he was. A truly beautiful sight. I place him in the live well, head back to shore, get some pictures, and place him back in the lake. He rests for a moment, then turns around and swims off – the most beautiful sight of all.
Species: Smallmouth Bass
Date Caught: 07/03/2013
Kept / Released: Released
Region of Catch: Region 1
Length: 21 inches
Lure / Bait used: Lure | Firetiger Bomber 4-

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