A Loss

For six years my hunting lease near Brady, Texas, not only provided excellent deer hunting, but also offered equally excellent froggin’, fishing and during the winter months was covered up with all varieties of ducks. In 1990, during the last weekend before deer season opened, my boys and I took the four, plus, hour trip up from Houston to load our feeders, haul up some of our gear and maybe have a go at some frogs and bass.

After we topped off the feeders, the boys decided to go froggin’ in some stock tanks on the backside of the ranch. Opting for bass, I drove up along side of Hwy. 190 and with my spinning rod and trusty Piggy Boat spinner bait, climbed out of my Suburban, went through the fence, walked over the tank damn and began casting out into the two acre tank. Years earlier, before dove season, Bill Priddy and I had scouted out this tank and enjoyed some good fishing, but no doves. The story about our first try at bass fishing in the big tank was my post “[Scouting For Doves]” on August 18, 2010.

Catching and throwing back several two pounders, I worked my way around the tank and along the shore, not fifty feet in front of me, on its side, was a big fish. Walking up to it, it turned out to be a bass, a big one, its gills were barely moving and made no move to escape to deeper water.

Never having seen this before and putting my rod down, I knelt beside the fish. The fish made no effort to escape my grasp as I turned it over. There was no sign of injury on either side, so I edged out into the water and tried to resuscitate the bass by moving it forward, forcing water over its gills. No luck with that try, so I replaced it on its side stepped out of the water and the bass had stopped moving its gills! It was gone and loosing heart for fishing, I left the bass on the edge of the water. The next morning, no bass, I bet it fed some turtles?

If predators don’t get ‘em, bass have the ability to live a long time, 16-20 years. My best guess was that central Texas’ hot weather and low oxygen content of the water could have combined to kill it. For sure, extreme cold didn’t cause this one’s death.

I’ve always wondered if this was the big bass that I had caught several years before?