The morning of flying bass

Do you remember those old painted magazine covers that depict a big bass clearing the water’s surface, mouth agape, inches from snagging a dragonfly from the air?

I’d probably seen that actually happen three orĀ  four times over the past 45 or so years of fishing for bass. Yesterday morning we probably witnessed it a conservative 40 times.


After more than a year of trying, Sen. Carolyn McGinn and I found matching holes in our schedules and went fishing at a friend’s place in Harvey County.

While rigging gear at the edge of the one-acre pond I saw a bass of about 15-inches clear the water a few yards away as it tried for a dragonfly. I remarked how rare of a treat it was to see such behavior.

Seconds later it happened again. And so it went for the next two hours.

I’m not sure if it was some sort of dragonfly hatch happening or if the insects were concentrated around the little pond for some favored food. No matter, fish were breaking the surface across the back half of the pond, usually in and around flooded vegetation.

Some of the bass shot straight up and fell straight down. I watched some do complete flips in the air as they leaped in long arches. I have no clue as to their success rate.

Ours was fair.

Carolyn did best casting top-water lures like Jitterbugs and plastic frogs that could be fished amid floating vegetation. I mainly tossed a Texas-rigged plastic worm or one of the frogs. I mentally kicked myself for leaving my fly rod and bass poppers at home.

Quite a few times we’d see a bass jump, toss a quick cast to that spot and get a strike. More times than not the fish didn’t end up in our hands.

Carolyn, who hadn’t fished in several years, missed quite a few strikes – even on the Jitterbug with two sets of treble-hooks.

I had the embarrassment of having a hook come untied and had new line break near the reel on a hook-set. A lot of bass came unhooked half-way in when I switched to a new style of hook.

We landed a combined 10 bass despite three times as many strikes. Most of the fish were 13-16 inches long.

I’m sure a few years down the road I won’t recall how many we caught or lost but I’ll certainly remember the morning as the one when bass seemed to be flying everywhere.