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We pulled up to the gate house at a quarter til six. I laughingly pointed out the hand-drawn numbered arrows on post-it notes that the park workers had taped to the pay station in an effort to educate the uninitiated and streamline the three step entry fee payment process.

Arrow #1 points at card reader slot
Arrow #2 points at big green print button
Arrow #3 points at receipt printer door

Todd tucked the receipt on the dash and I waved to the gate attendant. We parked in the ready area on the curb and made our preparations for the day, including a prodigious application of mosquito repellant. We took note of two boat trailers and a couple of yakker trucks in the pull-off.

I backed Todd down the ramp. He remarked how the outboard fired right up. I parked the F-150 and hustled down the hill towards the raspy performance-tuned two-stroke noise. Todd had bayonetted the nav lights while I was parking. I jumped aboard, knelt to dim the bow screen and settled in the cockpit.

Todd pinned the throttle and we both removed our caps, twin chrome domes gleaming in the moonlight as we planed out on glass, the feeling sublime. Todd throttled back as we approached our starting spot, which surprised me a bit because he normally drops off pad at the inside edge.

The pre-dawn bite was crickets except for an outlier that Todd pulled in with a senko. When the sky lightened, the fish began busting for a morning bite that ended before it even got started. We steeled ourselves for the grind. A raccoon growled at us from behind the reeds. Every now and again we’d spot a swirl on the water’s surface. We’d cast a senko at the swirl and reel in a fun-fish.

At 10:00AM we decided to make a run. As we idled out of the cove into the main lake, Todd’s attention went to his sonar. While Todd adjusted his side imaging, I recognized a nearby yakker. Todd was throttling toward the hole-shot and I asked him to turn so we could hail Justin. Justin was a hundred yards from shore tracking a significantly sized behemoth bait ball. He told us this bait was being harassed by largemouth, not hybrids. He had caught some nice largemouth by following this bait ball. As we chatted largemouth began busting between us. We all cast topwaters, but the whack-a-mole fish never struck. Todd and I cast out spoons, but those didn’t get struck either. Justin continued tracking the bait ball. Todd and I ran to a protected cove.

We went a long way down a shoreline, bookended by Todd’s DS fish at the start and my senko fish at the end. That last fish did it for us, the Indian Summer heat taking its toll. Humid, sunny and balmy, we were dripping sweat and decided to call it. Todd turned the key and clunk, no start. It’s always something, and in this case, its a four year old cranking battery. Todd connected jumper cables, but the cranking batt was dropping all the voltage from the troller batt, so he swapped the troller batt into the cranking batt‘s tray. Thankfully, the Vmax cranked over and we ran to the ramp, feeling much better with propulsion cooling us off. We caught eighteen between the two of us. We caught mostly with senkos and DS 4” worm, but I also caught fish with TR BBH and TR 10” Mondo worm. Todd had big fish with a 3-14. Justin had asked earlier why Todd always gets big bass. Any ideas, LOL? Off at 1:00PM.
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I was mostly joking around with the big fish question, @Jeremy is way too modest to brag. I think we ran into each other just a little bit late, those packs of 2-4lbs fish really shut down after going wild for an hour or so after sunup. I spent most of the time after we split throwing frogs and getting scorched in the sun. Good times and glad you guys got into them!
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