John's Journal...

Big Bass By Starlight

Keep on Fishing At Night to Catch the Biggest Bass

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: “If you can get that Phillips’ fellow to fish with me for three days and three nights, I’ll put a bass in the boat 10 pounds or bigger,” the late L.J.Brasher of Opelika, Alabama, told a friend of mine, Joe Price of Birmingham Alabama. Now that is a big boast for even the nation’s best anglers. And I had never heard of L.J. Brasher nor had many other folks. But Brasher’s boast was not an idle challenge. Brasher, like Dizzy Click to enlargeDean, felt, “If you’ve done it, then it ain’t bragging.” And Brasher had done it. Each weekend during the spring and summer for years, he traveled to ponds and lakes around Madison, Florida, and caught big bass. In one year alone, he took over 80 bass that each tipped the scales at 10 pounds or better. So, I decided to fish with Brasher to learn his tactics.

I had fished all night and all day, and now it was 11:00 pm on the second night. We hadn’t gotten out of the boat in 28 hours. My bottom was sore, and my back was aching from staying crammed in the little 16-foot aluminum boat. My arms and shoulders throbbed from casting the big muskie rod with the giant black Muskie Jitterbug at the end of the 55-pound-braided nylon line. All day long I had baked in the Florida sun, and Click to enlargenow with the dew falling I began to shiver. We had caught no bass. We had not even had a fish roll at our baits. “I’ve had just about all this fun I can stand,” I told Brasher. “I’m going to take a nap.” “You better keep on fishing, boy. We’ll get a big one here in a minute,” Brasher answered. But Brasher had been saying the same thing for the night and day before, and by now his credibility was fast becoming questionable. “I’m just going to take a short nap. Then when the fish start biting, I’ll be ready,” I lied as I curled up in the bottom of the boat. My stomach growled, reminding me of the only food I had had since this adventure had started - Beanie Weenies. As visions of steak, a warm bed and a place far away from my boat-bottom bed invaded my head, I slipped off the sleep.

Click to enlargeSuddenly, BOOM! “An explosion,” I thought. “Someone’s throwing boulders at us,” I told myself as I drug my weary body up from the damp bottom of the boat. “I’ve got him. Get the net and the light,” Brasher screamed. I had pre-programmed myself to react instinctively when Brasher yelled, “I’ve got him.” Brasher had told me at least 100 times each night, “When I tell you I’ve got him, you grab the Q-Beam spotlight, turn it on and point it at the bass. With your other hand put the dip net in the water perpendicular to the boat. I’ll drag the bass into the net, then all you’ll have to do is lift up.” As the light pierced the inky-black shroud of darkness surrounding us, I saw a sight I will never forget. Twenty yards from the boat, a giant bass was skidding across the top of the water, His head was held high as his body slid rapidly across the surface. I looked at Brasher. He was reeling so fast that the spray coming off the line seemed to cause the reel to smoke. When I looked down, the bass was in the net. “Put him in the boat, boy. Put him in the boat,” Brasher said as I decided he could back up one of the biggest brags I ever had heard in all my years fishing.

Tomorrow: The Brag

Check back each day this week for more about " Big Bass By Starlight"

Day 1: Keep on Fishing At Night to Catch the Biggest Bass
Day 2:The Brag
Day 3: Finding Nighttime Bass With Your Ears
Day 4: Bass In the Timber
Day 5: Secret Night-Fishing Hot Spots


Entry 357, Day 1