I told my wife the night before that I was leaving the house at 615am and that I would be back at 8am. It was late September and the leaves were starting to turn, but the forecast for this particular Sunday was a balmy 85 degrees. I figured this would be one of my last chances of the season to try out the new kayak, but I didn’t want to have to abandon my wife with the 3 kids for too long, so I decided to set sail at sunrise. When I awoke, I moved like a ninja through the house and quickly made my exit.
I arrived at Delaney Project in Stow, MA about 5 minutes later, the sky was just starting its transformation from dark to light providing subtle ribbons of color exposing the brown, red, and orange hues of the trees. The water was as smooth as glass and the images of the light and trees began to reveal themselves on the water’s mirror-like surface.
I pulled the truck down the ramp and dropped the kayak into the water. It was brisk outside but I was comfortable in shorts and a fleece jacket. I could feel the air warming slightly with each passing moment. I loaded up the kayak with my fishing gear and set off. The kayak glided through the water without a sound. As I moved, I could see ripples all through the water where the small fish were waking up. I made my way to the middle of the pond and sat to take it all in.
My son, Harry, and I had been out on the pond for the past 3 weekends and had completely struck out with the fish. In the middle of the pond is a small channel and we were having great luck there all year catching bass, including Harry’s monster 5lb fish. Unfortunately, the temperature at night had since cooled the waters and the fish had moved. My job today was to go find them, but in all honesty, if I caught nothing on this day, I would still consider the trip a success. Absolutely beautiful.
I decided that I’d stick with a Senko Rubber Worm and some excellent hooks I had found. I stuck with the worms because the weed and lilly pad cover this time of year is very heavy. Nothing is more weedless than a Texas rigged rubber worm. I hit all of the spots that Harry and I hit and got the same result; not even a nibble. The pond is only about 1/2 mile long and 1/4 mile wide. The bass are here somewhere. If I was a fish, where would I go? Warmer water, right?
I looked around the pond and found a corner of it far off on the opposite side, soaked in the new day’s sunshine. It was the first portion of the pond that got those warming rays in the morning. That has got to be where the fish are. It was now 745am and I knew that I had to be back at 8am, but I just had to go investigate.
I paddled hard and the kayak cut through the smooth water like a hot knife through butter. As soon as I arrived I saw fish leap out of the water as if to warn his buddies. I threw in the worm and in a matter of minutes I pulled in a 3lb large mouth bass. As I held him by the lip, I looked him in square in the eye and said in a cold, quiet voice, “I found you. Me and my trusty kayak found you.” I placed him back in the water, reset my Senko worm, and cast it out again. Bang! Another bass. This one was a little smaller, but equally as feisty to pull in. I gave that one a few choice words as well and tossed him back in the water.
At this point it was 815am and I knew I was running very late. I sent a quick text to my wife to let her know that I had not drowned and reluctantly left my new spot for the paddle home. This was a day that reminds a person of just how wonderful New England is. The temporary and ever-changing beauty that it provides is something that can only be captured in ones memory. Pictures, stories, or books cannot do it justice. A couple months from now, Harry and I will be ice skating on this pond in a barren, colorless winter landscape and we’ll talk of the days we spent fishing. Another handful of months after that, Harry and I will be out there in the spring with his brand new Wood Duck Kayak that his Dad made for him, kicking off the new fishing season. But this day, is only mine and no amount of story telling or picture sharing will convey the level of beauty I experienced.