John Day River – May 7
Jack Strayer and I journeyed to Fossil, Oregon on Sunday,
the 6th, for a guided fishing trip on the John Day
River with Steve Fleming of Mah-Hah Outfitters, On the 7th we started our day at 6AM with breakfast
at Steve’s home consisting of peaches and ice cream, hot-from-the-oven biscuits slathered with delicious toppings.
We then set out for
our put-in point at Service Creek. The water temperature was a chilly 49 degrees. Although the bite was slow in the morning, probably due to the temperature, a few
smallmouth bass were caught…all by Jack.
Just before lunch I
made a long cast and a few seconds later the line went tight. My first bite! It was worth the wait. The closer I got
the fish to the boat, the harder it fought and I knew I had a nice one on. The
fight at the boat was the longest and hardest one I have had in a long time. Steve
did a great job with netting my 20 1/16” smallmouth.
We then celebrated
the morning’s fishing with a Dutch-oven cooked lunch of pork loin, baked potatoes, carrots and stuffing. After lunch we continued down river and the bite picked up the rest of the day for the both of us. By the time we got to the take-out point, Jack and I had landed over 20 smallmouth
As Steve began to load
the boat and stow all the gear, he suggested that we do some bank fishing at a point just upstream of the take-out. Jack and I fished it and had a few hits but no hookups. With maybe five minutes left before Steve was ready to leave, I made a cast straight
out from the point to a current seam, worked the jig a few times and I had another fish on.
I knew Steve would come running with the net if I called him but I didn’t think the bass felt that big that I
couldn’t just work it to shore and lip it. But as the fish got close to
the bank, it fought a lot harder. By that time I was afraid to call Steve and
play the fish longer than necessary for fear of losing it before he arrived. So I just slowly worked it up to the bank and,
fortunately, it cooperated by being still until I could reach down and lip it. As
I picked it up, I realized how big it was. It measured 20 ½” -- “BIGGERER” than the one in the morning that had
put up such a fight.
That earned me two
Master Angler pins from Mah-Hah and really made my day. Now I know why some of
the guys call me Lucky Dog. Like I always say, “I’d rather be lucky
of Tom Nelson & Steve Fleming