Bass Versus Trout – Hatfields Versus McCoys

| October 12, 2010

Just about the time you think you have your local largemouth hangout figured out, the weather cools, the seasons change, the trout are nursing nuggets at the hatcheries, and you know it’s finally time to shift gears.

If you think about it, it’s almost like the Hatfields and McCoys. Trout and largemouth bass are related (barely), but which would win in a duel? Trout are a scientific fly fisher’s rare air dream, while a bass is a maniacal, blue collar, beer guzzler’s bar fight on a Saturday night. There is a certain intellectual gauntlet thrown down by trout who don’t take your every offer, and make you rake the muck off the bottom of rocks to “match the hatch”. Bass, on the other hand, eat poisonous snakes, ducks and small babies.

A bass will jump and rattle its gills, and a trout will do the most graceful aerial displays, with the bass giving in long before death, while a trout will fight to the very edge of death – virtually without exception. Beauty? Trout win hands down. It seems like the uglier, and fatter a bass is the more we love them – pig, hog, sow, toad – all terms of endearment in a southern drawl. We revive trout, while we launch bass with a big enough splash to get the attention of the bait caster on the other side of the pond.

Forget for a minute about the physical gymnastics of bass versus trout, and concentrate on the mental gymnastics it takes a fly fisher to go from heavy fluorocarbon and mono leaders – to 6X and 7X trout leaders, and tippet. Then, pull out your magnifiers to tie on a size 14 Royal Wulff when the smallest thing you’ve tied on in months is a size four Meat Whistle … fly names alone give you a pretty good measure. The gap will be bridged when someone creates a “Royal Meat Whistle” and lambs will lay down with lions.

Trout flies have their barbs smashed down, or are barbless, while bass get slammed with multiple trebles on swim baits, and circle hooks or stingers hidden within gaudy flies. A trout tastes flies like a fine wine, and a bass guzzles a double bunny like a fat dude downing a pitcher.

Fall now surpasses a spring and summer that have been my most successful for largemouth bass, in terms of big toads, it’s time to see if I can put on my thinking cap, take some advice – lots of that, bone up on the books, and hit the road for the reachable waters conveniently populated with trout of the stocked variety. No Sherman’s march, we’ll be carrying light loads and small field artillery. We put away our camo. flats shirts, wife beaters and cutoff jeans, and put on the warmer layers topped by waders and vest.

The bass will rest, recuperate and get ready for a warmer day. They turn sluggish, lethargic and into downright dullards. We put our heavy sticks and reels in their cases and tubes, but keep them handy … just in case. You never know when the feud will heat up again on some warm day, on some pond down the street.

I will be bringing the final installments of the Colorado Trip to Texas Fly Caster in the next couple of weeks. We left off at day five and there are at least three days to go. Inside scoop – the fishing peaked at the Rio Grande Reservoir, but if you like more than just fish porn – stay tuned.

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Category: Culture on the Skids

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