It was hot, we were sweating and the bass apparently were in no mood to participate in our activities.
Then, as it often does in Mississippi during the summer, a little early afternoon thunder-boomer popped up in the area. The cloud cover, though too sparse to create a serious downpour, brought much-needed relief.
And, it brought action.
Bass pro Pete Ponds put down his crankbait rod and picked up one with a topwater lure attached.
“Let’s just see,” he said, and he guided the boat closer to the bank and launched a cast right up against the seawall. “A little bit of cloud cover usually triggers a bit of activity and if we can get them fired up ...”
He never finished the sentence.
The sound of a big bass crashing his lure interrupted the conversation and put the angler into high gear.
“Oh yeah, that’s what we’re looking for, a big one,” Ponds said.
His signature 7-foot-2 white Duckett Rod was bent against the pull, as he worked the fish closer to the boat.
“Now throw that Senko in there right where he hit it and see what happens,” Ponds said, urging me to get in on the fun.
The Senko, rigged whacky on a weedless 2/0 finesse hook, landed right in the middle of the still disturbed water where the fish had attacked Ponds’ big plug and started its slow descent down into the shallow water column.
My line twitched, ever so slightly, but the 10-pound braid and 8-pound fluorocarbon leader transferred the feel up through my spinning rod. Suddenly we were both fighting fish.
Minutes later, we were holding two identical 3-pound fish on the deck of Ponds’ boat.
“Let’s get them in the livewell and take pictures later, because this cloud cover could disappear at any time,” Ponds said. “We need to make the most of this opportunity.”
He tossed his topwater lure back along the seawall at the end of a peninsula that turned into a main lake point on the 700-acre subdivision lake in Gluckstadt.
Ponds was quickly fighting another fish on the Nip-I-Dee-Dee lure. I grabbed a camera.
Over the next 20 minutes Ponds kept throwing a series of very old topwater lures, including a Devil’s Horse, which produced a 6½ pounder on the first cast and a Devil’s Toothpick, which produced a 5-pounder.
The cloud cover lasted about an hour, and then the temperatures heated up and the bite cooled down.
“That’s one thing novice bass fishermen need to know, that a slight change in the weather, especially cloud cover on a hot sunny day, can trigger bass activity,” Ponds said. “It’s May, and the fish are still relatively shallow and you saw how fast the bite moved up against the bank.
“Had it been July or August, the same thing would have happened, but only in different areas. Then, the fish would be deep out on the ledges or deep timber. What happens a lot then is that the cloud cover won’t bring the fish to the surface like it did today but instead it will just pull them off the cover to search for food.”
Bottom line: When Mother Nature gives you a nice, cool break from the searing sun, be ready to pounce on the opportunity.
Look in the July issue of Mississippi Sportsman magazine for a feature on how old lures can still produce.