In the early 1950’s my Mom and Dad bought a house that had a 3 acre lake on the property where an old gravel pit was once located. We didn’t have any fish finders or the like back then, but I suspect it had lots of structure and was a more prolific fishery than any of us ever suspected. Evidence to support that possibility was a 10 lb largemouth bass caught one weekend by a friend of my dad’s. Dad was amazed, yet at the same time terrified. The last thing he wanted was word to get out that his little private lake held monsters such as this. He could only imagine fishermen coming from near and far overrunning our property to try and duplicate that day’s catch.
Well, the secret never did become common knowledge and as far as I know that lake is still there and more than likely still contains a monster or two. I’m telling this story because that one incident in the early 1950’s was a milestone for yours truly and instantly set my benchmark for what I would consider a mount-worthy “monster” largemouth bass. Although I never have caught one this size, it remains my goal and is always in the back of my mind when I’m out fishing for bass.
Now stay with me here. We’ll get back to bass shortly. Just recently Dixie and I decided to spend a day fishing one of our local Fish & Wildlife areas. Our great friend, Bill Cissell, had regaled us on many occasions with stories about Otter Lake in our local Bluegrass Fish & Wildlife Area and the huge crappies he and his pal Mike caught almost at will. He firmly believed that this lake was one of the best crappie lakes in Indiana. And Bill is certainly one of the best crappie fishermen in southern Indiana, so we listen when he tells us where to fish and how to catch these slab crappie. Otter Lake, he said, was full of crappie and if we followed his technique and fished the “secret” spots he directed us to we would no doubt end up with a nice mess of crappie for dinner. Sounded good to us.
We pulled up to our local bait shop and I ordered about 8 dozen “crappie sized” minnows. Dixie gave me a twisted look, but hey, Bill gave us all of his secrets. I was sure that even 8 dozen minnows would probably only last us a couple of hours! Surely with about 100 minnows we should end up with at least 25 nice fish. Logic. Sometimes my wife just doesn’t do the math….
About 20 minutes later we were on the lake and on the first spot Bill had pointed us to. I prepped Dixie’s rod and then mine and we set the drift so we could approach the “hole” in full stealth mode. This, in my mind, would assure us some quick action from some of the “big guys”. Sure enough, Dixie saw her float dip and then set the hook. She had our first “monster”. Well, maybe not quite a monster, but certainly one of the monster’s small off springs. Actually, this fish must have been a newborn given its size. Maybe a scout. Or a spy.
After sending this first fish back to bulk up we set another drift, but now the wind had whipped up and holding the boat was becoming difficult. I don’t know about you, but I get easily frustrated by wind that keeps changing direction, and this was exactly what was happening. Just when I thought I had everything figured out the wind did a 180 and we were drifting away rather than toward those monster crappie. Try as we did, we just couldn’t get the boat set properly. We were either past the hole and almost up on shore, or so far away neither of us could cast accurately enough to land where we needed to be. And we had only used about 6 minnows!
We dropped the anchor thinking that this would put us on the spot, but once again the wind twirled us around and kept taking us off our spots. We fought the wind for about another 30 minutes, finally deciding that we just weren’t having any fun. And we’re far more “fun” fishermen than “serious” or “meat” fishermen. This was our day off and we were supposed to be relaxing, not fighting a trolling motor, an anchor, and gusts of wind that never came from the same direction twice. I looked at Dixie and said, “You want to cast?”
“Yes”, she said, “I think that’s a better idea unless you want test how well you can avoid using some of your famous ‘bad words’ as the wind blows.”
Obviously I didn’t, so we rigged up our casting rods. Now Otter Lake is known for crappie. It also has a reputation as NOT being a “bass lake” although there are certainly largemouth bass in there. The local consensus is the bass are small and fairly hard to catch. Really not worth the effort. But, we were there and taking the boat out and reloading it on the trailer and then moving to the next lake (which was better known for bass) just didn’t appeal to either of us. We were comfortable even with the wind. We had our soft drinks and sandwiches and chips and cigars (mine). It was breezy so not all that hot. The clouds weren’t that threatening. Heck, it could be a lot worse!
I can be a fairly lazy fisherman, and this day was a good example of that. Rather than work the trolling motor I would just set a drift and cast at whatever spots came within range. Ditto for Dixie. I was throwing a Megabass Baby Griffon (can’t recall the color) and Dixie was tossing an X-80 Megabass (I’m not sure what the color was for hers either). Our theory was that even if we couldn’t hold the boat to minnow fish for crappie, perhaps we could bring in a few using these dainty, miniature crankbaits. Seemed logical at the time.
I would set the drift at one end of the lake, making occasional corrections as the wind swirled from one direction to another. We were both casting at the shoreline, my casts usually being a bit more accurate than my wife’s. But not always more accurate. One cast landed in the weeds on shore (it really was the wind that pushed it there!) and given we were using 4 lb test line the only choice was to maneuver the bow to shore and manually unhook the lure from the weeds.
Once unhooked I backed the boat up and set the drift again. Seemed futile to throw at the same spot I had just unhooked from, but what the heck – I did anyway. This cast feel just beyond the shoreline in what I thought was a clump of underwater weeds, moss, and grass. Sure enough, one or two cranks and I felt my lure stop. I pulled in frustration and it seemed to be coming lose, but obviously had collected some of the shoreline in the process. Then I felt it shake it’s head! I never remember weeds or grass shaking their head, so I probably had a small fish. I reasoned a fish along with a nice “salad” of weeds and grass.
The closer to the boat the line came the more head shaking and resistance I felt. Then I saw it. A B-I-G largemouth bass. I mean a B-I-G guy! “Get the net”, I yelled to Dixie, “This is a BIG fish!”
Dixie maneuvered beside me and after two misses she scooped up my prize in the net. What a beautiful fish! And caught on an itsy bitsy little plug. Maybe the heat and sun had made this fellow as lazy as me. Maybe when he saw that little bait swim by he figured that was an easy snack. Whatever, certainly a big “Ooops” on his part.
Once unhooked and untangled from the net we found we had a 6 lb, 8 oz largemouth bass going about 25 inches long. I put him in the live well for a little R & R before we released him back to his habitat. I hadn’t caught a largemouth bigger than this since we were on Lake Fork in Texas several years ago. This was a BIG fish, especially for a “crappie lake” and one with a reputation for small, hard-to-catch bass. And only a few miles from the store. Wow!
Like any dedicated fisherman I figured if there was one on that shoreline there must be more. 20 minutes later we landed another nice fish, this one about 5 lbs. We put this one in the live well along with the bigger fish. Then it struck me. Here I was on a public lake only minutes from the store with my 10 lb bass, albeit with two tails and two heads instead of one! But let’s be honest here, this was a great day fishing. One that Dixie and I will remember for a long time. No, we didn’t catch the intended crappie and no, we didn’t have a fish dinner (we always release almost every fish we catch including these two beautiful bass), but we did have a wonderful and memorable day. And I got my 10 lb bass even if it was in the form of two fish rather than one.
I still have my goal of catching a 10 lb largemouth bass which, in retrospect, is a good thing. One thing that happens as we get older is sometime we accomplish some of our goals but fail to find some new ones to replace them. I can’t imagine running out of goals as I get older, so keeping this one in the active file is just fine with me. At least for now!
Be sure to take a look at all of the info below. We’re having an Open House Saturday, August 14, 2010 to introduce everyone to the new G. Loomis NRX rods. We also have some great new Megabass items that we’ve just received, have “enhanced” our trade-in values for Loomis and St. Croix rods, and even have a recipe for some of the BEST lake trout you will ever eat.
Come VISIT US at our First OPEN HOUSE Saturday, August 14, 2010………….
With the New G. Loomis NRX rods being Introduced August 14, 2010 what better time to invite all of our customers to the Very First American Legacy Fishing Company Open House! Yep, we are pulling out all the stops this Saturday from 9 AM until 5 PM (central standard time) with some free food, free refreshments, and the World’s Largest selection of G. Loomis rods Including the Remarkable New NRX rods.
We’ll be offering some spectacular “unpublished” specials on some of our apparel, some lures, and many other items that, if you’re even a little close to Evansville, Indiana, you can’t afford to miss. Our entire staff will be on hand to show you our great store and answer any questions about the wonderful products we are so proud of. Although not a requirement, we would ask that you drop us an email at [email protected] and let us know if you’ll be stopping by and the number of folks you’ll have with you. This will help us make sure we have plenty of food and drink to offer everyone.
This will be a really special day for all of us in several ways. The most important is we’ll have a chance to meet you, our great friends and customers. Additionally, you’ll get a chance to see every G. Loomis rod made along with all of the high end Shimano and Daiwa reels, Boga Grips, Megabass Lures (world’s largest selection), Live Target Lures (every current model in stock), and many other great products such as Stick Jacket, Power Pro line, etc. Please come and join us!
DIRECTIONS: We’re easy to find located just behind the southwest exit of Eastland Mall at 500-A North Congress Avenue which is just a short few miles from I-164 off the westbound Lloyd Expressway. Exit on Stockwell Road North and immediately turn east on the access road then the first right on Congress Avenue north. We’re just a few blocks away as you enter the curve. We sure hope you’ll drop in to say “hi”!
G. Loomis NRX Rods Will Be Available August 14, 2010……….
They’re finally here! This Saturday you will be able to order any of the 29 models of the new G. Loomis NRX rods. We will have EVERY model of casting, spinning, and fly rod In Stock in Limited Numbers! Those of you who order on line can be assured that your rod will ship the following Monday, August 16, 2010. Shipping is free to any USA address and we’re still including a FREE G. Loomis Hat with New every G. Loomis rod purchased.
We have already heard rumblings that Loomis is working at warp speed to meet demand and there is a very real possibility that within 30 days the NRX rods will be difficult to find. After all, these rods have very special components and require a great deal of time to create at the Woodland, Washington factory. The special components (guides, reel seat, and cork) are all best-of-the-best and scarce even in the best case scenario. We predict that within 30 days the NRX rods will have sold out and become almost impossible to find given the components are so unique and the rod so time consuming to build. The reality is that even American Legacy can only obtain so many. Now is your chance to own the very best fishing rod in the world today!
These are simply the most remarkable rods ever made and we can assure you all the pre-release hype simply doesn’t do them justice. Only when you have fished with one of these rods will you realize just how amazing they are. We have used almost every rod made, G. Loomis and almost all other brands and series and the new NRX is simply amazing and literally shifts the paradigm for fishing rods as we have known it. If you’re a serious fisherman or simply want “the best” don’t miss out on these!
Megabass Vision 110 Lures Arrive in ALL of the Hard-To-Find Colors……….
For Two Years we have been trying to get some of the Most Desirable and Hardest to Find colors of the Megabass’ Most Popular Vision 110 “USA” lures. No Luck. We have begged, pleaded, tried everything. Nada. That is until now. We finally have 22 of these “impossible to get” USA patters/colors made especially for us by the factory.
Folks, these are all of the “home run” colors you have been asking about! GP Pro Blue, M Shad, M KBG, Wakin Reaction, Elegy Bone, GG Bass, GG Clown, M Deadly Black Illusion, M Black Back Stardust Shad, HT ITO Tennessee Shad, GG Gill, GG Hasu, GG Moss Back Gold Shad, GG Perch, GG Trout OB, GP Skeleton Tennessee Shad, GP Stain Reaction, ITO Natural, PM Clown, M Cosmic Shad, M TNG, and AKA Tora. Basically every color and pattern that’s been impossible to get we Now Have!
Yes, I know this may not be the idea time of year for these, but it has taken us 2 Years to Obtain these, so when they finally arrived we sure want to let you know immediately that they’re here. These are all of the original “USA” colors that quickly sold out two years ago and basically have been unobtainable since. Best news, however, is the prices are the Very Same as any other Vision 110 models.
We don’t have huge quantities of all of these, but we have enough that most of you who order in the next few weeks should not be disappointed. You can search for these using the term Vision 110 USA. We have also included links (above) to specific colors as well.
These are truly “fish getting” lures and deserve a prominent place in anyone’s tackle box.
Need a NRX rod? Our “Enhanced” Trade-In Values (+10% – 15%) are back for 30 days ONLY……..
Yes, we know the NRX rods are expensive. And yes, they’re definitely worth every penny. But, we also know that if you’re like everyone here at American Legacy you probably already have 15-20 premium rods in your arsenal already and “momma” is no doubt looking over your shoulder with a skeptical eye, unable to figure out why you need so many rods. See my dissertation regarding women and shoes from an earlier newsletter, but don’t try using that at home!
So, we’re going to help you out. We believe that any serious fisherman Deserves to own at least one NRX rod. Frankly, we’re convinced that if you buy one you’ll figure out one just isn’t enough. So, to make this a wee bit easier we’ve “Enhanced” our trade in values on all G. Loomis and St. Croix rods for the next 30 days. You’ll receive 10% to 15% MORE TRADE IN VALUE when you trade in any used G. Loomis or St. Croix rod from now until September 15, 2010.
These enhanced values will Expire September 15, 2010 if you haven’t done your trade and at that time we will drop back to our usual (but liberal) trade in values we normally quote. So, as we say in southern Indiana, “time a’ wasting”. We’re doing all we can to get as many of you into these fantastic NRX rods, so drop us a note at [email protected] with what you want to trade in and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours with a trade in value quote that will be good against anything we sell, not just NRX rods. But, with these higher values there will never be a better time than now to score that NRX you’ve been considering ( and must have in our opinion!).
The BEST Lake Trout You’ll Ever Eat…………..
Just last week Chris Wilson, one of our wonderful customers, sent us a picture of two very nice Lake Trout he recently caught (see picture below in photo gallery section). Well, I’m an old Lake Trout fisherman from way back and those two lake trout were the perfect size for cooking in a way that will make you cry they’ll be so good.
For well over 40 years all of my fishing pals would smoke Lake Trout after marinating them with all sorts of concoctions. To be entirely honest, some were good and some were very close to inedible. But they all had one common trait – they were a “secret” marinate that usually killed the true taste of the fish. After some serious trial and error I came up with what I think is the absolutely best way to prepare these fish and make them disappear off the plate quicker than you can say “I need another beer”! This recipe is simple and easy and there’s just no reason not to share it with you. I have a feeling that any oily fish such as salmon, whitefish, etc. would benefit from preparing it this way, but we always used Lake Trout. I hope some of you will try this. I assure you it will be well worth your time! He’s my “secret”:
Fillet one 4 – 6 lb fish but leave skin on. Using a glass baking dish sprinkle sea salt liberally on the bottom and lay the filets meat side down, skin side up in the dish. Sprinkle the skin side of the fillets liberally with sea salt. Cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge overnight. At this time also soak 4 baby fist sized (or smaller – NOT larger) chunks of hickory wood in water overnight. Do not wash the salt off the fish! (the fillets will go on the smoker just the way you take them out of the glass baking dish) In the morning set up a Brinkman CHARCOAL smoker (see: http://www.brinkmann.net/products/outdoor_cooking/charcoal_smokers_and_grills/details.aspx?item=852-7006-0) using charcoal briquettes (not charcoal chunks – they burn too hot) to the top level of the briquette pan (do not heap above). Pour ¼ cup charcoal lighter in the center of the charcoal pan and light after it has soaked in the briquettes for about 30 seconds. When the briquettes fire goes out you should see some gray ash starting to form on the briquettes in the center. Wait about 1 or 2 minutes and then put the charcoal pan in place in the smoker. Place one hickory chunk in the center and then work your way out to the edge with the other 3. You do not want these chunks to all burn at the same time. The charcoal will burn from the center out so it’s important that the smoke be consistent for the entire cooking time. Now fill the water pan full and put it in place making sure not to spill water into the charcoal pan. Put the grill in place and lay the fish skin side down on the grill (remember, you do NOT remove the salt or wash off the filets!). Cover the smoker and don’t open it for 5-6 hours. The key here is s-l-o-w and c-o-o-l cooking. When you do you will have some of the best fish you have ever eaten. Serve the fish with some sliced onions and cream cheese if you like, but don’t be surprised if the fish disappears long before the condiments. Bon Appetite!