My particular physical characteristics make my outdoor adventures a little more challenging, wearing long sleeves when everyone else is in tank tops, fishing from under a tree even though it increases the number of times I snag a limb, and avoiding touching people so they don’t notice my skin has the texture of a greased pig from all the layers of sunscreen I’m wearing. So when my buddy suggested we try night fishing, I was all in—moon burn isn’t a thing, and I’m naturally a night owl anyway.
We set out at 6 pm with windows down and fishing gear loaded. I had spent the week at a conference, so when I got home, I took just enough time to ditch my suit for fishin’ pants and grab my tackle box backpack as I ran out the door, pulling on my boots as I beat a path for the pond. By now, my truck can almost drive itself the 13 miles from my house to the ponds on country blacktops, and I know it takes precisely 23 minutes to make it from one driveway to the other. Twenty-three minutes is forever when all you want to do is get outside and fish.
Our fishing hole for the evening was another half-hour drive away, tucked in the heart of Hancock County where blacktop ends and gravel begins. We had our choice of four ponds to try, and after visiting with the landowners and a glass of sweet tea, we grabbed our baitcasters and topwater frogs and got down to business. I’m still struggling with my frog, and had been blanked on the last several outings with it because I just can’t seem to set the hook correctly. I blamed the fish, my friend blamed the pole, but now I had no excuse because both were new and primed for success.
As usual, my buddy was catching fish hand over fist while my performance was fair to middling. I had one nice bass to his five, minus the mud I managed to get covered in when I dropped my catch at the pond edge. However, as the sun touched the horizon and everything turned that gold color that only happens on June summer nights, we moved to a new pond and my luck changed. Four hogs (by my standards), all in a row made for some of the best fishing I have had to date. I swear my scale is off, because one I would have wagered my truck title would scale five pounds was just a hair over three and a half. Regardless, they fought like monsters and made the night perfect.
As the stars came out and the mosquitoes thickened, our luck turned cold at pond #3. It didn’t matter what we tried: topwater baits, Senko worms, poppers, soft crawdads…nothing. The only bites we had were ones that would itch the next morning, but it didn’t matter. I’m learning the best part of fishing is the act, not the outcome, and as we loaded up and drove home, I started counting the days until the next night fishing trip.