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Putting in effort, work is what makes fishing fun

Every now and then it is good to close your eyes, forget about winter and drift away to a place where the weather is warm, the sky is sunny and the breeze is blowing perfect freshness in your face.

That’s not an easy accomplishment these days. Much of the nation is shivering and suffering.

People are not much inclined this weekend to head over to a nearby lake. But fishing is good for what ails us.

So while you probably won’t be going fishing today, perhaps today’s column will put you in a happy frame of mind.

Earlier this week, I grabbed a rod and headed out the door toward the ponds near the place where Barb and I stay while in Naples, Fla. I said a silent “thank you” for having the good fortune to enjoy the great weather and outdoor activities of Southwest Florida.

As I walked toward the water, thoughts about my buddies out on the ice at Mosquito, Pymatuning and Shenango crossed my mind along with worries about friends in Houston and Dallas who are coping with power outages and frozen pipes.

I also acknowledged how fortunate I was to be able to enjoy one of the greatest simple pleasures of fishing. That is to stroll the bank of a rippled pond while casting a topwater lure to whatever fish might be teased into striking.

The sun was hot on my neck as I worked on the sandy shoreline. I applied sunscreen, but I fretted about the prospect of missing a spot and getting a burn.

Soon enough, however, I forgot my worries. Casting, twitching and splashing a Rebel Pop-R requires a certain level of concentration. You can do it sloppily while daydreaming, but you won’t catch many fish. Or you can focus and do it well and catch a lot of bass.

So I focused on the task at hand and whacked a nice bass five minutes into my fishing. Then the action really heated up.

The bass were charged up along the wind-blown shoreline where I was fishing. It seemed they were lurking around the spawning nests of other species. When I spied an array of light spots, circle-shaped spots cleared by spawning fish, I guessed bass were in the vicinity and paid extra attention to the cadence of my retrieve of the popping plug.

The afternoon was a great success. Twenty bass fell for the Pop-R, including three that would push four pounds on a scale. That is a size that warms any bass angler’s heart. I also caught several bass that afternoon that barely measured eight inches. I admired their bravado.

It occurred to me that I gained almost the same satisfaction in tricking them into striking as I got from their larger kin.

My lure was a lifeless hollow piece of plastic with a cupped face and a tinsel-tail treble hook. It barely resembles a real creature. But every fish that hit my lure was convinced it was food because of the action I gave it.

Putting in the effort and work to succeed is what makes fishing fun. Many people enjoy catching. But then there are those of us who love fishing as much as catching.

It’s a passion that flares white hot when we get the opportunity to go to the water.

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