I often think of the beginnings of my fishing obsession, and I always like to look back and ponder over the few memorable moments, or milestones if you wish, that amplified and fuelled my passion to what it is today. This post is basically a reminiscence of one of these memorable moments, one that has stuck in my memory for the longest time. I would like to say that the memory has always stuck fast and vividly in my mind, but after recently acquiring the photographic evidence relating to the day at hand, I have realized that a few of the minor memories have sneakily slipped from my mind, over the years, and have replaced themselves with grander ones.
It was a Saturday afternoon in the sleepy hollow that is Grahamstown, situated in the Eastern Cape (South Africa). Myself and a few of my astute student buddies embarked on a small fishing excursion in an effort to escape the monotony of studying, or the monotony of the local pub, depending on which one of us you were. So, Dj Cool Colin, Mini “Waap Weep” Marcus, myself, and a few others set out to a new hole we had recently heard about. Let’s just say that the word “hole” was more than fitting. After a short trek through a field of shoulder high shrubs, just off a main road, we came across a garbage pile, a train track, and a puddle.
We proceeded to tie beautiful blue baits with streamer tails and shiny blades to the end of our lines. Then we tossed the baits into the puddle, cracked open a few black label quarts and let the day pass slowly by. I would like to mention at this point that we were all absolute amateurs at this stage in our lives, and had no idea that the lures we had chucked into the puddle to soak, actually need to be stripped through the water column. None-the-less we sat and waited anxiously, sipping our beers and waiting for the lines to tighten, all in vain. We lost interest eventually, and as the sun went down we decided to pack it in and call it a day. And what a day it turned out to be. Upon reeling in his line, Cool Colin felt a solid thump on the other end! We were all absolutely dumb struck at the thought of catching a fish while reeling in the line! What are the chances right!? But sure enough Cool Colin beached a “Giant” bass, that as I remember it, was close to 3 kilograms. Of course after recently reviewing the photos I concede that this figure may have inflated in my head over the years, and so I’ll allow you to make up your own minds. Regardless it was a great sized fish, and at this time, a type of fish I had never really seen before!
Not thinking to toss our lures back in to try again, we threw the bass into our half empty beer create and rushed home to find the first willing participant to gut and clean Coly’s prize. And how lucky we were, as on arrival at our digs we encountered just the person we were looking for, an ichthyology major by the name of Jerry! What were the chances? And man did we act fascinated as she systematically dissected our dinner in the bath tub, scientifically describing every element of its innards. Once our biology lesson had come to an end and the fish was clean, we sprinkled it with a few drops of beer, some cloves of garlic, and a splash of lemon juice, cooked it, and ate it. It was by far the best fish I’ve ever eaten.
This was the first and last time I ever ate bass. You see, as my fascination with fishing developed so did my understanding and appreciation for the conservation of this awesome fresh water predator. Never the less it was an awesome experience, and as brutal as it seemed, I’m glad that the events unfolded exactly as they did, and as I said before this was definitely one of the defining moments of my fishing career.