The Stinky Bass

by | Apr 12, 2015 | 3 comments

Pat and I wanted to float, but after the recent rains all of our local options were too high and/or muddy. I’m not complaining about it. Fish like water, and I’d rather see a creek bank-full than find the streambed half sun-dried.

At high levels, the ideal conditions are only a day or two away as the water recedes; but at low levels it usually takes a major high-water event to get enough flow back in the system and then eventually have ideal conditions for any length of time. It has to go up before it comes down. Positive thinking there.

My home stream is remarkably reliable and resilient. Levels were good for wading, but several factors were sure to bring truckloads of anglers: it was Sunday, it was sunny, it was 65, half the state had rivers in flood stage, it’s exactly one week from the official trout season opener, and the olives are on.

It’s not that I don’t like Everybody — it’s usually his brother that causes me problems — so, I just do my best to avoid both of them when picking my spots.

Pat and I chose marginal water that we’d never fished before; we had hopes of finding Hog Johnson, but had honest expectations of striking out. The reward would be the exploration, the shared friendship, some solitude, some curiosity satisfied and some new puzzles to solve.  That’s really what it’s all about — like so many great things in life, fly fishing is a passion that grows new branches with every river you encounter. There’s never a conclusion, and you wouldn’t want one.

We landed some bass, and Pat hooked a carp, but damn these were some big bass.

Let’s get this out of the way — I’m not a fan of the stinky bass.  Generally, I think people fish for river bass because there are no good trout around. I know I’m way off base here to some BASS fans. But then, this is Troutbitten ….. isn’t it?

Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with people who like bass. Maybe it’s a lifestyle choice, or maybe they were just born that way. Either way, I’m not about to pass judgment on these people just because they are different. In fact, one of our best friends is WAY into bass.  His name is Steve Sawyer, and when we catch a stinky bass, we usually take a picture for him like this.

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Sorry, Megan.

The smallmouth we found today were some of the largest I’ve ever caught; but then again, I usually try pretty hard to keep bass off the end of my line. Today, they certainly provided good sport. They are fighters. Gotta give ’em that.

At one point, I hooked a big bass on my top streamer, and while the fish was giving my four-weight all it could handle, another stupid curious bass whacked the trailing fly. A few minutes later I somehow managed to get both of these fish in the net without breaking my rod. Pat and I agreed that it could have been a really exciting moment — if they weren’t stinky bass.

Then I washed my net. Slimy things.

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If only I’d had a third hand for Steve Sawyer …


Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky

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Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

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  1. I fish for the B words when the creek at my cabin becomes thermal. Hard fighters on top water poppers in the summer makes up for the lack of trout when the water is HOT. Nice basses! 🙂

  2. Dom,

    Those are nice looking Smallmouth! To get a double on a streamer is insane and to land both is even more rare. From the dinky trout I have seen you post, you may want to consider fishing for Smallmouth all the time. By far the best quality fish you posted yet.


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