By Dave Mordini
When you’re fortunate enough to fish as often as I do, there are times when the fishing days seem to run together. Every once in a while, though, you have a fishing day like no other. In this case, I’m not referring to watching someone catch the fish of a lifetime. For far greater reasons, this particular day turned out to be the best fishing day of my life.
It all began when I received a call from my friend Joey asking me to take him and his future son-in-law Dave bass fishing. Dave is a former Marine and Wounded Warrior.
Stationed in Fallujah, Iraq, Dave’s job as an engineer was to ride in front of his battalion and search out hidden enemy IEDs (improvised explosive devices), creating a safe travel corridor for his fellow soldiers following behind.
Unfortunately, the armored truck Dave was riding in was struck by an IED. Dave woke up days later in a hospital in Germany, suffering from leg and knee injuries and some brain trauma. Tragically, the driver did not survive.
After hearing of his harrowing ordeal, I made it my mission to make sure Dave not only caught fish, but enough fish to earn him bragging rights with his Semper Fi buddies.
I chose as our means of attack a dropshot rig. It’s easy to learn as well as to teach. I use a technique specific Wright McGill Skeet Reese 7’2” dropshot rod. The three components for the dropshot rig are a drop shot weight, drop shot hook and finesse plastic bait. My favorite hook is the VMC spinshot/dropshot hook in a No. 1 size. Simply attach your main line to the top swivel and attach your 18-inch dropper line to the bottom swivel. Now, attach your dropshot weight onto the end of the dropper line.
The choice of small finesse plastics to choose from is endless. I like to nose hook a 4-inch plastic worm in the very tip, giving my bait mucho action in the water. I use 8-pound fluorocarbon as my line of choice. Make a long cast, wait for the weight to settle to the bottom, and reel up to what I like to call “controlled slack.”
Minimal rod action is required as you slowly reel the rig back to you. You can “quiver” the rod tip several times, stop for a few seconds, and repeat. When you feel a fish strike, simply raise the rod tip and begin a smooth, steady retrieve. Don’t horse the fish in, as you run the possibility of tearing the thin wire hook from its mouth.
Have your drag set correctly for this technique. A big fish could easily break 8-pound line if your drag is cranked down too tight.
All three of us caught fish, and Dave was clearly a quick study at this new technique. He caught a respectable number of bass as well as a bonus northern pike.
As we packed up our gear, shook hands and said our goodbyes, Dave said, “Thank you, this was the best fishing day of my life.” As I was driving home, I was thinking about what he said and thought to myself: best fishing day of my life, too … mission accomplished!
I am booking six-hour guided bass trips for one to two people in May and June in northwest Illinois near the Illinois/Wisconsin border. Treat yourself or someone special to a relaxing day on the water. More importantly, take a kid fishing.
Until next time, remember, if you don’t have a fishing partner, ask your son or daughter. Teach them to fish, and you will have a partner for life. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Dave Mordini is an outdoor writer and a licensed Illinois fishing guide. His Get the Net Bass Fishing Guide Service is offered less than an hour west of Rockford in Jo Daviess County. He can be reached at (815) 790-4538 or firstname.lastname@example.org or online at getthenetbassguide.com.
From the April 30-May 6, 2014 issue