Friday, November 23, 2012

Asian Eyes' USA - Texas Largemouth Bass

            Jun/30/2012: On this day I finally get my wish that I had always wanted to do while in America. I longed for a fishing trip and had been planning for one long before I landed in Texas. Terence had suggested fishing at Emma Long Metropolitan Park for Largemouth Bass. Emma Long Metropolitan Park size is 1,147 acres, located north west Austin. Its facilities include camp sites, bathhouse, wading pool, picnic areas, lake (Lake Austin), boat ramps, hiking trail, motorcycle trail, sports field and sports courts. It is the oldest city park in Austin, and only Austin park to offer overnight camping. Terence had been at the lake many times and he had been fruitful so far. I had never fished largemouth bass before, so I readily agreed. The Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) is a species of black bass in the sunfish family native to North America. It is also known by a variety of regional names, such as the brown bass, widemouth bass, bigmouth, black bass, bucketmouth, Potter's fish, Florida bass, Florida largemouth, green bass, green trout, gilsdorf bass, linesides, Oswego bass, southern largemouth and northern largemouth. The largemouth bass is the state fish of Alabama as the official freshwater fish, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida as state freshwater fish, and Tennessee as official sport fish.
          I was up early on the Saturday morning at 5.30 am. Terence and Stephen arrived my hotel on time, but we weren't the early bird at Lake Austin. After paying the entrance fee of $10 per person, we saw a white guy was already fishing and he had some luck in catching a Largemouth Bass and released it back. "Gee, fish must be hungry", I eagerly rub my hands together, aching for action. Terence set up the bait trap with bread and scanned the water for sign of bait fish - minnows. "Yep, there are those bait fish", pointing to some small sleek shadow moving about in the water, he whispered. He dropped the trap in the water and wandered off to get his rod ready. He handed me a light rod and I chose an artificial lure to practise cast and retrieve method. It was a cast, and then retrieve, then let go, then retrieve again method, mimicking an injured fish to lured the largemouth bass. However after some 30 or so castings, my hand were starting to get tired.  
         The place where we fished is also a pontoon for boat launching into Lake Austin for jet ski or just pleasure boating. Occasionally we were disrupted from fishing by these boat launches. The bait fish trap was full with minnows when Terence lifted it out of the water. He took out the small fishes from the trap and put them in a pail. We had some 20 to 30 minnows. He hooked one of them and cast away into the lake and waited. I did the same. There was some small activity but they were small fishes trying to steal our bait. After 30 minutes of no activity. turned my attention to crappies action for at least some action. I used bread to catch them, and I indeed landed the first one, and then more and more and more. They were pretty small, about three quarter of my palm. Crappie are highly regarded game fishes and are often considered to be among the best tasting freshwater fish. Because of their diverse diets, crappie may be caught in many ways, including casting light jigs, trolling with minnows or artificial lures, using small spinner baits, or using bobbers. 
Ground hornbill abundant at
Emma Long Metropolitan 

Park
          After numerous crappies later, they ceased to take my bait. A baby largemouth floated by, barely able to swim. Terence scooped it up with his bare hand before released it back again. However sensing the fish will not make it, he scooped it up again, this time with the intention to store it in the cooler box. "There is enough meat for dinner for my kid", he said. We agreed with him. Just then Stephen's rod began to curve and he yanked hard. However he lost the fish after a couple of pulls. I changed to bait fish and cast away to the centre of the lake upon seeing Stephen fighting and lost a fish. I waited and waited but no luck for me. I was distracted by some kind of bird a distance away. They looked like ground hornbill. It was summer and the sun was now at the 10.00 am mark. Suddenly Terence jerked his rod up high, and shouted excitedly, "a fish, a fish". At the end of his line was a fish fighting for it's life. He fought it for about 2 minutes and managed to pull it up to the lakeside. It was a largemouth bass and he held it high to eye level for us to see with a wide smile on his face.
        Soon after we had used up all minnows and even the trap did not got any. Terence threw all the crappies I caught back into the lake. Final count we had a baby largemouth and an adult largemouth, and a good fresh water fishing experience to tell. Here are the photos we took from our expedition to Lake Austin:


I had the first fish - a white crappies taken on bread using a light tackle. I bagged a couple more white and black crappies while waiting for large-mouth bass' action.
A baby large-mouth bass floating at the surface, half dead and barely able to swim. 
The baby large-mouth bass up close. It later became dinner for Terence Jr., so to speak.
Terence and Stephen, taking out time for a photo snap while waiting for action.
Terence finally bagged a large-mouth bass using bait fish. We went home happily after this fish had being caught.

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