another classic memory I have of fishing, and growing up.... was when I was 12 years old, and fishing the old wooden docks of webster lake.
Back in those days, webster lake was a radically different lake... for those who were familiar, it was a shallow, silted bowl filled with nasty weeds in summer. the weeds would build up to a point where using the rented paddle boats would be pointless. on the last week of june they would close the lake to fishing for a week to pour herbicide in so people could boat the lake on the 4th of july for the celebration, only for the weeds to return in full force mid august. by that time... nobody cared because summer was ending so you would end up renting pedal boats, and wanting to kill yourself trying to get around the sargasso sea of the northside.
The one great thing about the weeds, was that it was the perfect recipe for the largemouth bass that routinely patrolled the lake. Webster, just like a handful of northside fisheries... was a sleeper spot for big bass. it was the perfect place to try topwater lures which is what I would see fishermen doing all the time on summer evenings.
I used to use a small, beat up fishing rod and would soak worms for the bluegills and crappie that would make their homes along the pilings. once in a while i'd luck out and get a juvenile largemouth bass that would be hiding in the shadows of the pedal boat garages.
later that summer, we went on a camping trip to pueblo reservoir, and I looked in my mom's tackle box... and spotted a dark green, faded jointed rapala. I asked my mom what that was.. and she explained to me what a rapala is for, and how they are great for catching things feeding on the top of the water. I asked her if I could borrow it, and she handed it to me to keep.
a few evenings later... I was standing on the end of the docks after they closed the shack for the boats. I noticed rising fish along the edges of the weeds. I decided that was the moment I was willing to try that used lure of my mother's. I bit off my bobber and hook, and tied the lure to my line.... and cast off the dock in the clearing between weeds. I worked it back slow, like my mother told me to do... popping it every so often to give it that imitation of a dying baitfish.
suddenly, as I passed a weed bed.... a wake darted out towards the lure... and a gigantic explosion occured around the lure... and it dissapeared in the wake... causing my rod to bend, hard. my drag began ripping, and my poor shakespeare reel was getting a workout. I reeled and fought the fish.. watching it make repeated runs, and jumps... and a minute later of pulling it out of weeds... I caught what was my first topwater largemouth bass. it was maybe 15 inches, but it was awesome.
Since then, I started pulling weeds for extra money... and used some of the money I made to buy topwater lures from bill's bait and tackle (remember that place off 88th?)... some of which were poppers, at the suggestion of my mother and brother. I still have those same, old rusted out poppers.. and I keep them in my bag, as a reminder of where my learning curve began with wanting to expand my fishing beyond bait. It also reminds me that out of all types of fishing for bass... nothing, I mean... nothing will beat a topwater bite. Summer cant come soon enough.
I'm here to ruin it for ya,... I, spoiler.