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Summertime schooling bass fun for youngsters

By By Mike Giles / outdoors writer
July 25, 2003
Although the hot summertime temperatures make any outside activity unbearable at times, the bass still have to eat. While they may also be more active early and late in the day, the bass may bunch up in schools during the heat of the day. What better time to take a youngster fishing than right now. And that's just what Dan Robinson and I did last Saturday at a "dream lake" near Edwards.
During the morning hours, Robinson and I fished together and located a large school of bass that were holding tight to structure in a cove. While trial and error were the main ingredients to locating the bass, we had found them in the middle of a cove, not along a bank or shoreline. For a couple of hours Robinson and I caught or missed bass on almost every cast. That might be hard to believe, but it did happen.
After a short break Robinson's son Toler joined us for some fishing as well. After an hour or so we had to take a break for lunch and some cooling off. Catching and releasing sixty bass in the 2-3 pound range by lunch was almost unbelievable and had really worn us out. Toler had hooked just enough to really whet his appetite, and he stayed on us pretty hot and heavy to go back fishing.
While Dan rested and recuperated in the cool of air conditioning, I finally agreed to go back out with young Toler around 2 p.m. After an hour or so of fishing deep water, I had caught a few crankbait bass but hadn't located another school. We had already decided to let the first hot spot rest.
Dog day afternoon
Around 3 p.m. we were both getting pretty hot and thirsty when we suddenly both had bites. In no time we had hit the jackpot again. Toler finally caught his first bass and I was right behind. Anchoring in deep water we positioned ourselves close enough to hit the trough where the bass were holding right off a timberline.
Toler was using a Berkley Bionix spinning rod that I had rigged up with 8-14 pound Fireline. The rod was light enough for a youngster, but stiff enough to set a worm hook in the bass' mouth. Having good equipment is perhaps one of the most important things when it comes to bass fishing. Both of us were fishing with Gamakatsu hooks and Zoom worms. The extra sharp hooks really were a key point in our arsenal.
During one stretch, Toler caught nine bass on nine consecutive casts. Only later did I learn that he had never before fished an artificial worm. My how he caught on after only a little instruction. Normally I don't count the number of fish we catch during a day. However, I wanted to see how many this youngster could catch. In slightly over two hours of fishing he caught and released 24 chunky bass. While I was helping remove most of his fish, I also got to catch around twenty bass of my own.
Many times we had bass on at the same time. At one point I noticed several bass chasing a fish that had my crankbait. As I halted my retrieve, one of the hungry bass also grabbed the crankbait and held on. I got them to the side of the boat but couldn't land both without a net. However, it was fun to have two quality bass on at the same time.
Making memories
While most of us older folks would have stayed inside during the middle of the day, youngsters like Toler don't know that you're not supposed to catch bass during that time of day. Of course his youthful exuberance was just what we needed to find some active bass, while everyone else was looking for some cool spots.
After another short break, Toler's sister, Rebecca, and Dad joined us for the finish of a memorable fishing trip. We caught bass right up until dark and made a memory that will forever rank as one of my favorite fishing trips. To have experienced it with good friends and youngsters made it all the more worthwhile indeed. Take a kid fishing today.