Fish Catching Travel
January 14, 2012
What is the best bite ever?
What is the best bite ever? Talk about subjective, this question is not something easily settled. It depends on the fisherman, and how and where he fishes. For me it is simple, and after some thought the last few days, I was able to narrow it down to 3 types of bites, each with their own characteristics. As you read this, think about your best bite, there is no right or wrong answer.
For me it starts with the “thump”. There are several way you get the “thump”, including the mighty crappie. When they thump that small light jig as it floats along it means filets on the table. Bass also “thump”. As the jig and frog falls, or the worm crawls along the bottom, there is nothing like the “thump”. Because we all now one thing, when they thump it, they got it, and they are usually a good one. So for me, it does not matter what species it is, when I feel that “thump”, it sends me into autopilot hook set, and is one of my favorite bites.
I started with the “thump”, but as many of you know, I love to high speed buzz a big bladed spinnerbait. Watching it smoke across the water as the blades make a huge bulge fills me with anticipation. And then it happens, wham! It isn’t a bite as much as it is an assault. Not only an assault, they smash it. Due to the speed, and their need to react on a instants notice, the bite often comes over halfway back to the boat as they try to jerk the rod out of your hands. As a reaction bite, they are forced to either commit or pass, and when they commit it is a thing of beauty. And as long as we are talking about freshwater, lets talk about another of my favorites.
One of my true joys when I was still fishing on Lake Norfork was spring and fall night fishing for stripers. While you can catch them on many baits at night, topwater fishing leads to freakishly crazy strikes. Using a Zara Spook, or a large topwater minnow, the bite is something to behold. Pitch dark, often unable to see the bank, you ease the topwater along. Where will the strike come? It may be right on the bank, or halfway back, but the best bite is right beside the boat. It gets even wilder when it is pitch black and you are just about to lift it out of the water. When you have been fishing awhile and it is getting late, you are a little sleepy as you day dream about other things, and that is when it happens. A huge smashing boil as a 20 pound striper hits it right at the boat, sounding like a toilet flushing, he immediately strips line. I miss that bite, something I often compared to sounding like someone throwing a concrete block in the lake. As long as we are talking about fish smashing topwaters, lets move to the salt.
About 15 years ago I decided to go to the Everglades. So with no knowledge other than what I could find on the Internet, I loaded the boat and made the 24 hour drive to Chokoloskee. Now my intention was to concentrate on Snook fishing. Having caught Snook on a Zara Spook many times, it was my weapon of choice. An hour after I was there I picked out a large pocket on the edge of the Gulf. As I worked that Spook out from the edge of the mangroves something was coming, it happened in a flash and seemed so surreal it must be a dream. A tarpon, easily over 100 pounds, came streaking out of the mangroves with one thing on his mind. Kill that mullet. He absolutely creamed that Spook 6 feet from the end of my rod and immediately launched. So there I am, bass tackle in hand, with a big tarpon who when he hit it, and I hit him, launched. So in what seemed a dream, I am literally eye to eye with a big tarpon, with about 6 foot of line out. He hit the water, and out he came again, and off he came. During the week I had 13 bites like that. Seeing those tarpon coming in that clear water, with nothing but bad intentions on their mind, was a thing of beauty I will never forget.
And as long as we are talking about salt, a redfish bite on topwater is another thing of beauty. While I catch them on a variety of topwaters, I love the Mann Waker. Running it along at medium speed, making a wake, you see another wake coming for it, and what is about to happen is awesome. And then wham, they smash it. How in the world a fish with an inferior mouth is able to roll up and eat that thing still amazes me. But no matter, what a bite.
Another of my favorite bites is as much sentimental as it is spectacular. Blue Marlin are one of the premier game-fish in the world. They are the stuff of anglers dreams, and were a dream of mine for years. Trolling in the open ocean, watching for signs of life as the diesel smoke permeates the air, fills you with anticipation. Then the captain spies a bill behind the bait. And it happens, the bait absolutely disappears in a huge boil. Line rips off and your heart tries to jump out of your throat. And when the Marlin goes airborne, the world narrows to the moment. I was fortunate enough in one day of fishing to experience it twice, and it is just as real today as it was the moment it happened. A Blue Marlin engulfing a trolled lure is a bite dreams are made of.
As I thought about writing this, I realized there was a special bite that only a real fisherman can have. A land lubbing couch potato will never be lucky enough to have this bite. It is the bite that causes you to jerk with all your might, often scaring the crap out of you. It is the dream bite. You could be sound asleep, or just napping on the couch, when this bite happens. You may not remember the dream, but when you set the hook like that it can be a real thrill. What a bite!
And last, but more importantly not least, is my favorite. When you fish a lot, in different places for different things, settling on a favorite bite is almost impossible. Those mentioned previously show how difficult it was for me to settle on a favorite bite. But thinking it through lead me to a revelation of sorts. It means that my favorite bite is the one I am having at that moment. A thump, a smash. a subtle change in the way the bait moves, it does not matter to me. When it comes down to it, the bite reveals to each of us why we fish.
Good Luck and Tight Lines!