Fast Water Small Mouth: Black Bass Fishing and the Craft of Doing it Well, Daily Racing Form, 1919-01-05


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FAST WATER SMALL MOUTH Black Bass Fishing and the Craft of Doing- It Well. Hjiltlts siinl Haunts of :i Denizen of "Waters Worth SeeUiiiKT. . A crafty fighter is the bass of fast water. Ye angler whose repertoire of bass fishing experiences does not include the taking of tin; stream small-muth has yet to feel the real thrill of battle and to tee this prince of all game fish at his lest. For be it known that the clear, rocky, white-water stream is th habitat de luxe of the bronze-back or small-mouthed black bass. And also that here, and hero alone, does lie exhibit those "inch for inch and pound for pound" tactics which have so endeared him to the hearts of his most ardent admirers. It is even true some claim for him this enviable reputation when taken from the cold, rock-boimd shoreline of a northern lake, and we would not rob him of praise so justly merited. Nor do we hold him in less esteem "when we place the smaH-mouth in his native water to fight his battle for recognition. He is crafty this bass of fast water. . Stream fish are of necessity strong of fin, and the bass is no exception to the rule. The year in and year ou,t battle with the current makes for strength, speed and endurance. Food comes and goes with such suddeness that a quick and rapid analysis is essential or the opportunity is lost. The lurking danger of attack breeds cunning, for no friendly weed beds offer a needed haven in times of stress. An attack in tlie open presents an opportunity for retreat, but to be caught in a pocket means a fight to the finish. The bass of the stream receives no quarter and gives none. He is .strqng. he is fast, can endure; is keen, crafty and suspicious; yet, withal, he is a fearless and unyielding fighter when his back is against the wall. Beat him at his own game and you have been a-fishiifg.- STREAMS FAVORED BY THE BASS. Not every stream is a bass stream. There are certain essentials. We are too prone nowadays to look for conditions affecting the adult and the fingerling in determining the fitness of a bit of water to hold a supply of fish. These conditions must, of course, be favorable that goes without saying. There must be proper food, proper temperature and freedom from silt, also proper cover; but a bass stream must have something more it must have proper breeding places, where spawning may take place to perpetuate the supply of finger-ling and adnlts. Stocking does well, but is a wearisome procedure at best where every fisli taken out or lost through natural causes must be replaced by a fish from the hatchery. As mentioned before, not every stream is a bass stream, for the small-mouth Is particular in regard to the nature and location of his spawning beds, and bass to be at their best must be home-bred inured to the vagaries of fast water and filled with the spirit of the rapids, the rich heritage of their clan. The angler who, would mix it with stream smnll-mouth and come out of the fray with anything akin to success must indeed bo a student of the angle. No haphazard, slipshod methods will win results, for this bass is suspicion personified and is not often tempted to depart from his daily routine. He seeks his food where he is accustomed to find it and not in some remote portion of the pool or eddy. His anger can be aroused - only by encroachment upon his chosen lair or his natural feeding grounds. He will not often dispute another portion of the stream and as a result the great majority of anglers pass him by. vociferously proclaiming that the east wind doth blow, while the careful angler nets his fish and proceeds joyously upon his way. It has been the writers privilege to angle for the small-mouth of the streams for many years and to study carefully his varying moods and fancies. Perhaps the telling of such an acquaintance may prove of interest; perchance some "fished out" stream may yield a goodly portion of success; and when the evening shadows dim the surface of the pool below the rapids, some angler, homeward bound, may be content: some dream will have come true. MISTAKES OF THE BEGINNER. Of paramount importance, if one would angle for the stream small-mouth, is a knowledge of where fish may be found in any given stretch of water. The beginner in the school of angling experience has a rather strong idea that fish may be taken from most any water, provided it is deep enough and known to contain the object sought bass. His is a rude awakening; for, whether it be lake or stream, bayou or beach, there are certain places where the fish will lie and again a much larger number of places that will yield the proverbial fishermnns luck. The bed of a stream is a fishs home, just as is the dwelling place of the genus Homo. Here he feeds, there retreats for a quiet hour, and again he ventures forth where the water is clear and quiet to gambol and play after the manner of his kind. Here lie will take natural bait, there defend with all his might against the intrusion of u gaudy artificial, and here again refuse the most tempting morsel and fairy fly. Even the skilled flyman, clandestinely bending on a garden hackle, fails to entice him from his favorite spot. Fishermans luck, fishermans luck tis the fly in the anglers ointment. There is one time, at least, when the bass angler refuses to doff his cap to "ye gentle trout fysher," and that is when in pursuit of the fast-water bass; and it is just such pursuit as this which tends to wean the bait-caster from his five-foot tool. Perchance, at first he graduates to a rod of six or six and one-half feet and becomes proficient in the placement of the lightest spinner. But sooner or laten. this season or the next, ho leans toward the fairy wand and beconfs a disciple of the art of fishing "fine and far off" for dolo-mieu the small-mouth. And who will say that he has not reached the highest degree of ichthyic craftsmanship. The opportunity for differences of opinion between trout and bass devotees has passed, for tliey meet. upon common ground, employing the highest skill in the taking of two fish, eacli with u repertoire sufficient to class it as the grandest fish that swims. NOT EXCLUSIVELY A BAIT FISH. It is frequently urged tht. the small-mouthed bass of the streams is a bait fish. This is largely due to the fact that he does not respond to the same tactics which are universally employed by the average fisherman in the taking of the big-mouth. There nre many anglers successful in the taking of the large-mouthed bass who are still In the kindergarten of bass-craft when it conies to mixing it with stream small-mouths. They are, therefore, forced to resort to the baif method in order to bring home any bacon at all. It is such anglers as these, together with the local cane pole contingent, who are loud In their declaration that the stream small-mouth is a bait fish. Bless you, yes a bait fish! So is the speckled brook trout! And the lake large-mouth! But no more a bait fisli than either the trout or the big-mouth! Nor do we cast aspersion upon such anglers because from necessity they make use of living lures. We believe in such a policy when other means fail. But we do resent the statement, in behalf of the small-mouth, that this prince of fast-water is primarily a bait fisli, refusing . the artificial presentation simply because the fishermans cast happens to be "funk." We know the facts in the case to be quite the contrary, for we were raised next door to a small-mouth stream, and have run the whole gamut of artificial fancies in their taking. And when we need a bass for the pan we have a lure, well battered and frayed victor in ninny a bronze-back battle that we bend f he line in preference to any live bait that ever graced an anglers hook. Tis not u secret, nor again a mysterious personal accomplishment; you shall hear of it before these chapters are ended. In truth, the stream small-mouth is an aristocrat, and the method of his capture is on par with the beauties of the environment in which he is found. He is scarce a brook fish, as Is his only rival, the trout, but where such brooks converge and unite to form a streamlet of reasonable size, with rock-bound pools and bowlder-8tre"-u rapid waters, there you will find Mlcropturus dolomieu "inch for inch and pound for pound" as game us a fish as swims. S. It. Jones in Outers Book.

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