Outdoors columnist for The Herald-Palladium


Kris Stakley of Benton Harbor shows a 16-inch largemouth bass that hit a chatterbait this week on Lake Cora.

The cast sailed well downwind, the little black worm plunking into the clear water of Lake Cora as I flipped the spinning reel bail closed and started reeling. I cranked the handle slowly, twitching the rod in a fast cadence while watching the bright yellow braided line. My twitches gave the line a constant undulation, loose waves that formed a sort of a cigar shape. When the shape of the cigar got smaller, it meant the little lure had either hit a weed or a fish had grabbed it. Each time I swung back on the 7-foot rod, and either felt the hook tear a bit of weeds from the bottom or found myself hooked to another largemouth. The Ned rig, my 2 3/4-inch Finesse T.R.D. worm on a 3/16-ounce tin-bismuth (as opposed to lead) jig head, enticed lots of bites, although only a few fish were in the 12-inch range, and the rest were smaller.

My fishing companion on the water was Kris Stakley of Benton Harbor. Kris was having a little slower action, throwing a regular rubber-skirt jig and a chatterbait. He might not have caught quite as many, but he was finding bigger fish. He measured two that were longer than 16 inches.

Outdoors columnist Dave Mull lives in Kalamazoo. Write to him at dave.sportfish.mull@gmail.com.