Outdoors columnist for The Herald-Palladium

Rock bass

This 10-inch rock bass just about yanked the spinning rod from writer Dave Mull’s hand on Gun Lake this week.

Last Sunday afternoon, I was trolling from my kayak on the way back to the state park ramp at Gun Lake. I’d caught three 14-inch largemouth bass and a decent pike throwing a Keitech Swing Impact 4-inch swimbait in the “Sungill” color, and decided to drag the lure behind the plastic boat as I pedaled, holding the light spinning rod in one hand. It’s an overused expression, but something very nearly did rip the rod out of my hand, attacking the little soft plastic bait with more force than any of the fish I’d caught earlier. Not only did it hit hard, but it battled fiercely, too.

“Smallmouth!” I thought, knowing that Gun Lake has some dandies. When I saw the fish at boat side, still fighting for all it was worth, I thought it was a smallmouth for an instant, then realized it was a smallmouth’s cousin, the lowly rock bass.

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