I want to tell you about a personal best (PB) story of mine that almost didn’t happen.
This fish caught was my best in length and probably weight wise and I caught it on a mid-afternoon in March 2016, not during peak hours. I was on one of my favorite lakes – Town Lake – also known as Lady Bird Lake – it’s in the heart of Austin, Texas. It is a trolling motor and paddle only lake. There are a few boats with motors that support the rowing team but they are the only ones permitted to have motors on the lake – this a very very quiet lake where you don’t have to deal with wake board and ski boats or even bass boats – so the competition and the pressure on the fish is not that great. And to make it even better this fishery is just one damn down from nationally recognized Lake Austin which has been stocked with over 100,000 Florida strain largemouth bass as well as ones from the Sharelunker program here in Texas that TWPD puts on. Many times when these flood gates are opened in heavy rains these very good genetic strains of bass are flushed in to town lake where they thrive because there is not as much pressure from the angling community at large.
I launched at one of my favorite access points and went immediately to a place I call The Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is area where it looks like the tree from the Lion King. It is a very very old tree, the root system is extensive – to me it looks like it has been there a long long time. And usually if something has survived that long there is probably other life associated with that in some capacity. I was just getting started for my fishing day. There were some recent heavy rains in the days before and many fish were spawning and were on the move at this time and of course I had my favorite pair of polarized glasses – my Costa Corbina’s (get the glass lenses – always). I would not have caught that fish I had not been wearing those glasses and that’s the bottom line. The Costa Corbina’s allow you to see into the water in a way that your are just physically unable to do unaided by these glasses. The reflection is simply not there when wearing the glasses so you can visibly see into the water at a greater depth and clarity then you would ever be able to see without glasses on.
“My ability to spot this fish and ultimately catch this fish was predicated on my wearing these glasses to begin with.”
So I’m at The Tree of Life, I’m wearing my Coasta Corbina’s, I’m throwing my favorite bait. I have a Texas rigged watermelon senko with black and red flake on 8lb flourcarbon. I tested my first 12 inches of line and it looked good, nothing was going to snap. As I slowly drift jn closer towards The Tree of Life not to startle anything I look over and I see a big torpedo – a FOOTBALL – sitting in the water, facing the shore. It does not know I am there – I am maybe 10 yards away. I see it hanging out by that big root system of that Tree of Life and so I cast my senko a few past it and gave it one nice reel.
The worm stops right in front of the fish’s face and let it slowly drift down. In what appeared to be slow motion I watch that fish go and grab and take that senko lure and watch as a big swirl goes around and I set the hook as fast as I can – I’m in for a rodeo ride! That fish takes off and takes down – it doesn’t feel as tough as it quite should be – but you know it’s a big fish when your rode doubles over like that. I buckled down – I made sure my drag was set alright, I didn’t want to lose this fish to a broke line. I fought the fish and let her swim. When she saw the kayak she dove back down for one last ditch effort. Finally ended up getting her to the kayak and she wasn’t hooked well at all – I’m glad I gave it the finesse I did. It ended up being a 23 inch fish, a new length personal best (PB) – likely weighing in around 7-8 lbs at a conservative estimate. Snapped a few photos, let the fish go. Did not have my rapala scale on me at the time so I referred to TPWD’s conversion chart here for my determination between of 7-8 lbs and that is consistent with any of the other fish I have caught. I think it may have been a large female that had recently spawned and just did not have the energy to fight me hard.
Bottom line is that if you are thinking of these glasses for fishing or personal use – it can literally be the difference in catching a personal best and going home empty handed. It’s an incredible story. You usually have 3-4 fishing stories you can turn back and talk about – and this is one of them.
I’m proud that I was convinced at some point in my life – there is always somebody who convinces you to buy the kayak and get off the shore, or buy the soft plastics and stop throwing bobbers with live worms and minnows underneath them, and the one who tells you that Costa’s may help you too – those guys are the true champions and we should all embrace that spirit. It’s made me a better fisherman, it’s made me appreciate the sport and it makes me want to share and instill that passion in others.