It happens that way sometimes! A bass followed my lure, came up from the depths at the last minute, and slashed at it right next to the boat without getting a hold of it. I wouldn’t venture a guess as to what he weighed, but he was really big. I looked down beside my canoe and saw one of his eyes looking up at me with contempt. I glanced over on the other side of the canoe and saw the other eye! He was a dandy. I caught one like him once; it pulled my end of the canoe down so far, we were taking water over the stern. I’d had to cut the line to stay afloat.
Well, it was that kind of day: lots of bass, lots of good-sized, hard fighters. We were floating the upper reaches of the Osage Fork of the Gasconade River, which was swollen with the heavy rains. Usually that little river has an abundance of water only in the spring, and you’ll drag the bottom out of your canoe trying to float in September. But last week it was full and then some. You couldn’t fish a topwater lure or buzzbait as effectively as I like to, and usually I fish little else in September and early October. But there was too much water, so I went to an old reliable crankbait, the Wiggle Wart.
It still is the best crankbait going, and if you use a brown and white and orange Wiggle Wart on any river or lake for the next month, you will catch some bass on it. Don’t use a small Wiggle Wart. Too often, fishermen lose big bass on lures with hooks that are too small. Use a large one with good-sized hooks.
And here’s a little secret that will make it even more deadly, the reason all those big bass chased my Wiggle Wart all over the river: I added to the back treble hook a matchstick-sized strip of thin white pork-rind, about 2½ to 3 inches long, which, when trailing behind a crankbait, looks like a white tail or a leg whipping back and forth. It makes the lure even more attractive, and if this gets out, your local lake may not have any big bass left in it by this time next year. So keep it quiet.
Larry Dablemont currently writes a weekly newspaper column for 35 newspapers, publishes the Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor Journal, has written seven books, and can be heard on KWTO AM 560 Radio Springfield each Sunday morning on The Larry Dablemont Outdoor Program. He and his wife reside in Bolivar, Missouri. You can read some of Larry’s current and older posts at his blog, Outdoors with Larry Dablemont, and visit his Lightnin’ Ridge Facebook page.