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ran across a hog molly last night

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weekday/evening so of course TVA was generating some decent current (31k cfs) so went down to Nickajack (Chickamauga having been soremouthed end to end by the MLF Elites)...
most action, and if was a real hoot, was on the old standby PopR (1/4 oz, silver/blue).  I tend to fish them straight out of the package until the bucktail gets shredded, then upgrade the hooks and go to feathers (put chartreuse on the tail to help mimic our threadfins, locally  known as 'yellowtails')

the other thing I do is tie the MONO line to the bait with a very snug palomar, then push the knot all the way down to the bottom of the eye where it meets the face.  this lets me work with with a decided spitting sound, nicely mimicking that 'smack' bluegill make when eating off the surface.  plus with just a little concentration it walks very tightly.
anyway, a handful of little river spots came to it and one 'decent' LMB around 1.5 pounds or so.
but it was a little later on, under a dock, between a rock wall and a ladder that this bug-eyed monster loaded up.

Felt the take.  it was a gentle tap.  pulled a little on it; she pulled back.  I set the hook and she shot right straight up.  Man talk about a heart-racing moment!  Huge bucket mouth, big ole golfball eyes (could see the white ring around them).  thankfully she ran for deep water (toward me) and away from cover.  so that was first problem solved.  then it was about drag, thumb on spool, calming the heck down and focusing on using the rest of the system effectively.  (Powell Max 755 CB rod, 12# Trilene 100% flouro, Shimano Chronarch 200e6).  yes, that is a crankbait rod, xfast action, MH, 7 foot  5 inches.  but very versatile.  landed my personal best on same rod (actually same lure:  zoom lizard) a few years back.)

so got her calmed down, to the boat, lipped and in.  turned on the livewell and put her in to rest a bit while I prepped area, camera, bumpboard.
I don't run across these often, and bigger gals like this are always incredibly special. still, TWRA has been introducing Florida genetics in to Nickajack since 2007 I think.  they started not long after the Chickamauga program showed so well.  who knows if this was a hybrid or a true northern strain.  I sure don't.

Longest bass I've ever caught.  at 7lbs 3 oz not the heaviest.  but for a few amazing minutes last night, everything was right. 

after the photo shoot and weigh in, got her back in the water and worked with her to make sure she was good to go.  very calm fish in the boat and in the water as I held her waiting for her to get re-started.  kept moving my fingers around gently on the jaws to see if I could get a 'bite' but she was content to just hang there.  finally took my hand out of her mouth, tickled her belly with my fingers and then put my hand around her tail... that got her to get kicking and lazily swim off.
just the way a confident apex predator would be expected ...

on a little more emotional moment, this fish came just a bit down from where I caught my last 'big girl' on the day mom called to let me know dad had passed.  dad was a wheat farmer.  no time for fishing, but he always asked me how my fishing was going.  I wouldn't share much but fish like these?  we'd talk a little about them.  He 'got' my excitement.  so more than a few emotional memories were triggered.

this is what I will always think of as 'dad's fish' (caught this past January)

Just how cool is this world?
Last Edit: June 10, 2021, 10:16:10 AM by coldfront

Mike Cork

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Awesome Catch :toot: Congratulations :toot:

Thanks for sharing the step by step share  ~c~ ~c~
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Awesome Nickajack fish! Like Mike said, enjoyed the play by play on the catch!
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Donald Garner

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CF, that was a cool trip report.  Thanks for sharing it and the photos with us also. Congrats on the catch. 
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big g

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Congrats CF, and thanks for the narrative.  Great job!
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What a beauty, congrats CF, that'll take some beating in iBass  ~c~
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D.W. Verts

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Great bass, better story. Kudos, sir.

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Nice bass! Wtg!! For a moment I thought to myself, wow!! what dedication, even while his boat is sinking he still measured his catch...  ~roflmao


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Nice bass! Wtg!! For a moment I thought to myself, wow!! what dedication, even while his boat is sinking he still measured his catch...  ~roflmao
fish first Lou.  always.

Dale:  you know that I appreciate your ability to write, share what you're about.  and boy would I love to have heard the story you tell about yesterday's epic outing.but understand that some things just may not need to be shared too openly.
again:  if we're voting, I have you as the 'guy most likely to get 110 inches'.


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Congratulations and great story.  Sometimes it is not always the fish, but the memories or the story that accompanies them
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You "lipped" it alright...... ~roflmao Great fish and story to boot!


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Pretty one!