This past week I have been very busy and unable to take the time to write a new story for TenderFoot’s Corner. I am currently working in Coffeyville Kansas on a construction turn around with (Ray Buxton) a longtime friend and avid reader of all my articles. I chose a story that
I posted on my website http://www.charlesmcdonaldholt.com some time ago.
This is a short story; I wrote while working in Afghanistan and was included in my book,
Charles@afghanistan: crazy encounters from the not-so front lines
The fishing story:
I went fishing today.
I love to fish and I try to go fishing everywhere I go just to say I did.
The water was as clear as a swimming pool and I could see the bass bedding down
near a group of rotted-out trees. The trees were still standing but had no
leaves to give shade. The bass were hanging around the darkest part; that being
the trunk of the trees, but the sun was able to shine right down and light them
I’m talking about some lunkers here, fifteen to twenty pounds apiece.
I didn’t have my normal rig I like to fish with, but I did have a good fly rod. I know
you think I’m crazy trying to catch a bass that big with a fly rod and with
such clear water, but I didn’t know what to fish with. Most of the waters I
have ever bass-fished were nowhere near this clear, and most of the time they
were downright muddy. I know how to fish a muddy body of water, but this was
new and wonderful being able to see what I was fishing for.
The main drawback was that I couldn’t get very close to them because I was standing on
the bank. I had the beautiful snowcapped Himalayas behind me with a cool breeze
blowing just enough to keep me comfortable but not enough to make the water
ripple, so I never lost sight of my bass. I tied on a white fly. I had no idea
what these bass like to eat, but a good habit I have is looking at what
surrounds the body of water I am going to fish. If it is a muddy bank with
crawfish, then I will go for dark, large bait of some sort without too many
things that shine like spinner baits. If the banks are covered in grass or
swampy, then I go for the lighter colors and my favorite baits for this area
would be a weedless frog.
I was standing on the most beautiful sandy beach beside the clearest freshwater lake
I have ever seen, with the most bass I have ever seen, not to mention the
largest bass I have ever seen. I didn’t know what to use as bait. I was looking
around and found that the area had quite a few flying ants. These ants had big
white wings and when they would fall in the water these bass would suck them
under. They didn’t make a loud splashing sound, just a slight slurping noise and
the ant was gone.
I chose my fly to match the flying ant as closely as possible. The very first cast I
made, I saw the biggest bass I have ever seen in my life coming to investigate
it along with a few smaller ones. They all just looked at my fly but didn’t do
anything but look at it and then swam back down to their bedding area. I cast
about twenty times with the same results every time. I was desperate now, I
wanted a fish, I wanted the big one, but I was willing to settle for any one of
them. I thought I would try something.
Thinking it was my human smell on the bait that was turning them off, I decided to fix
it. I found an old tree covered with these flying ants and caught about a dozen
of them. I killed them and rubbed their little bodies all over my lure, trying
to transfer as much of their odor to it as possible.
I cast this time . . . and the same thing. I saw the monster bass come to look it over
and just when I thought he was going to go back down, a smaller bass headed for
my ant-smelling bait. I guess he thought the smaller bass was going to get the
ant so he rushed back and gobbled up my bait.
I didn’t know what happened, one second he was going to the bottom without taking my
lure and the next second he was heading to the bottom with my lure. He caught
me by surprise and almost took my rod from me. You would think after spending
years fishing in water you can’t see a strike coming, I would not have been
caught by surprise.
My heart was pounding out of my chest, my rod was about to break, I was fighting at
least a twenty-pound bass on a fly rod with a seven-pound test line. I had to
finesse this monster or he would break something and I would lose him for sure.
I played this bass for about twenty minutes before he started to get tired. I was walking
up and down the bank trying to keep him from getting tangled up in the stand of
trees he had been bedding down in. He would rip the line off the spool and I
would ease it back on. This was one of the greatest fishing moments of my life.
He finally got tired and I was able to get him up to the sandy bank where I was. I
pulled him in ever so gently because at any moment, he could make another run
for it and if I wasn’t ready when he spooked, all of my efforts would be in
I eased him into the shallow water and I lay down on my stomach so I could reach him
without having to wade out. He gave one last splash but I had him. I had my
thumb in his mouth and I wasn’t letting go. He splashed so much water in my
face; I had to close my eyes. When I opened my eyes again, my boss was standing
over me with an empty water cup saying, “Get back to work and if I catch you
sleeping on the job again you’re fired. And why do you have a thumb stuck in my
PS: for my readers, this story is the only work of fiction in my book. As unbelievable,
as my stories may seem in charles@afghanistan I assure you they are all true.
Remember you can find me on facebook and read more of my stories at www.charlesmacdonaldholt.com
Look for charles@afghanistan: crazy encounters from the not-so front lines at www.amazon.com