by Bob Cline
John Kiefer gave Bob Cline a few wacky worms to try and this is what happened:
John......I realize this is going to sound like yet another dab gum fishing tale, but (as always with my tall tales) it is absolutely true. It's fairly early Sunday morning (9 or 9:30 possibly) and me and my good buddy Joe Dolney are drifting along the shoreline at Westwind - tossing out a few topwaters and waiting for Dorothy's coffee to kick in before doing any "serious" fishing. I am feeling a little lazy and decide to do a little bass fishing since I'm not really adequately awake to deal with anything that has teeth. I open the tackle box and there, right on top, are the wacky worms you were kind enough to give me prior to your departure. Perfect ... What could be more relaxing than "wacky wormin"?
Joe notices me reaching into the bag and declares "From what I heard from the Kiefers, pink was the hot color last week". Sounds good to me, so I bypass the one white, one chartreuse, one yellow and one green, and hook-on the bubble gum. I cast out a short way to where the shadows from the inside weed edge obscure the bottom... Just then, I notice a slight movement in the shadows, feel a little bump.... Set the hook... Instantly, line begins screaming off the reel at a rapid pace and my little rod is bent to the max. I'm thinking maybe I forgot to tighten the drag ... But no, it's set right... Just hold on... Line keeps disappearing, so I mention to Joe that maybe he ought to engage the trolling motor and follow this critter since I'm approaching the bottom of the spool. I'm beginning to think I've snagged a beaver or maybe a big catfish.
The "beast" begins to tire and eventually comes to the surface where we can have a look ... Low and behold, it's a really large pike... Long and fat and dark as can be. It finally comes alongside the boat where I can snap a picture while Joe holds the rod and searches for his tape measure. Joe measures it at 42" and this thing has got to weigh 20 pounds.
We haven't removed the fish from the water yet, so Joe decides to grab it with his new "Boga grips" ... First try, fish slips from Joe's grasp and makes another run.... I manage to work it back to the boat for another try... Same results, only this time the fish spits the hook and swims off into the depths. So we never did get a good picture, but the funny thing is ... That bubble gum worm was still on the hook and I used it to catch three nice smallmouths the rest of the week. Thanks, John.
In addition, I always fish with a steel leader and this time it paid off because that big pike had the worm in one side of his jaw and the entire leader ran through his mouth and out the other side. When the fish finally broke free, the multi-strand leader was down to its last strand!!! Now, is that a story or what?