The second annual Possum Lodge bass tournament

September 11, 2011

As Sir Paul McCartney once famously said, “Merely to succeed is not enough.  Others must fail.”  Hosts Tony Izatt and Anne DesLauriers must have had this in mind when holding the event during a full moon.  They couldn’t have foreseen the stiff northerly wind, though.

Tony had scheduled the thing to begin at 7:00 a.m.  What fish is awake at such a ghastly hour?

So there we were around the gas dock at Indian Lake Marina at the crack of dawn, waiting for the only sane members of the crew, Jeff and Greg, who had apparently slept in.  Eventually they came slumping down the dock.  We were a motley crew, but the fishing tackle was good.

As the designated “ringer” for this event I realized that my duty was to bring my particular skill to the tournament: the ability to make the fish stop biting whenever there is any pressure of any kind for the anglers to perform on cue.

So I dialed up CONSERVATION mode as Les Parrott, unsuspecting, joined me in the boat.  The others apparently decided their best bet was to get as far from me and my jinx as possible, for at the start they all blasted off to various points of the compass.  I moved over to A-dock on the trolling motor and began to cast.  Fishing in the morning is best off A-dock.

Surely enough, a chunky largemouth waited for my worm, immune to my jinx.  I stored him in the live well for his own protection.

Then we fished our way around Indian Lake.  Lovely body of water.  Perfectly fishless this morning, as well, until Les found another largemouth just off the Pagoda which had apparently missed the memo.

Hiding from the wind, we worked our way up Indian, across Mosquito (fish very well protected there by the jinx) and into Pollywog Lake.  Pollywog bass are notoriously independent and a bit suicidal, if provoked.  Most of the belligerent ones tore our bait off the hook and tangled us in weeds, but a couple of the unlucky ones ended up in the well.

Then we moved through Bedore’s Creek onto Newboro Lake and the jinx cut in with full force.  We cruised around more exquisitely clear water, cast a variety of choice weed patches, and had a few strikes best characterized by their inaccuracy.  Some occurred as much as 3′ from the actual bait.  According to Les these strikes say: “Get out of here and leave me alone!”

But no Newboro Lake bass were unfortunate enough to land in the live well.  My jinx seemed to work well enough on the north side of Scott Island.

To put it to the test we moved over to the bay known as “The Boathouse”.  Tony and Jeff were already there, straining the weeds frantically with long, looping casts.  Tony tried to wave me out of there, but  I lobbed a cast under a tree on the outskirts of the bay.  A solid largemouth took the worm, fought valiantly for a while, then tossed the hook back past my ear.

“I’ll bet that just cost us some money,” I muttered to Les.  The jinx continued.  An inaccurate cast under another tree led to a missed strike and a lost worm, then I took into a run of tangles in trees which led to the exploration of a lot of overhanging limbs while I removed a series of hooks from branches.

Back at the dock Tony conducted weigh-ins with a large plastic pail and digital scale.  Things proceeded normally until a protest from the group forced the host to drain the water out of the pail in which he was weighing his team’s catch, reducing the weight from 22 pounds to seven.

Turns out my jinx had been pretty effective after all.  The five bass we had put into the well for safekeeping weighed a total of 9.9 pounds and turned out to be the catch of the day, beating the entry of Morgan Pickering and Brad Wilson by a half-pound.  The fat laggard from under A-dock at 2.8 pounds won the largest fish by a couple of ounces, as well.

So Les and I faced some baleful glares, but we got to hold the Bob Steele Memorial Trophy for photos and have the right to display it in our homes for the winter.

Maybe I’d better ease up on the jinx next year because a passing cottager complained that the mouth of every bass on Newboro Lake seemed to be sealed up Saturday morning.

Host Tony Izatt presents Bob Steele Memorial Trophy

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