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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Beating the heat...

I put the yak in the river with daylight and the heat fading and a couple miles to go before I reached where I wanted to camp. When I landed there was just enough light to situate my gear and gather a few armloads of driftwood for a fire. By the time I got a fire started it was too dark to smallmouth fish but I had a couple cartons of nightcrawlers stowed in the pack. The river was up about six inches and pretty muddy but I knew the channels wouldn't mind. There was a gorgeous nearly full moon with a planet shining brightly right below it. With the heat and dry weather predicted I didn't really make much of a camp. The plan was jut to stretch out by a small fire on the rock bar and catch a fewcats under the stars. The fishing wasn't too fast but I'd catch a small or medium sized channel about once an hour all night. The first cat I cleaned and sprinkled the fillets with Mrs Dash and some sea salt, wrapped them in aluminum foil and baked them over coals raked out of the fire. A feast when eaten out under the stars by the light of a fire. Finally as the sky began to brighten t dawn I packed everything back in the yak and checked the rock bar over to make sure it was as clean as I'd found it. Cleaner actually since I'd burned whatever trash I'd found during the night tht had washed ashore last time the river was way up. Just enough time to fish for an hour or so and paddle back to the truck before the heat started blasting again. I caught a couple small bass in the riffle and pitched a grub underhand about 15 feet to where the riffle poured over the top of a big rock creating a mini waterfall.
Tap and I set the hook and all H#@ broke loose. It was a huge smallie in the 19 to 20 inch range that went bat crazy on the short line. I had it on at least a minute and two jumps. I lifted the rod high pulling the fish towards me to lip it and it made a mad dash and swam right between my legs and then off to one side entangling me in the line as well. I'm in a bit over knee deep and trying to raise me leg and using me left hand to free the line and the fish made another dash and pop went the brand new 8lb test and it was gone! What a fish, I'll be back here for sure! I fished for about another half hour catching a small channel on the electric blue grub and then landed a swell smallmouth. While not as big as the one that got away (they never are, are they?) it was a great consolation prize and seemed like a good fish to end on if I was going to get back home before it hit 95...

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