The sounds of an alarm disrupted the 4th hour of sleep we were in the middle of capturing. It was 3:20am and the alarm was not accidental. We were headed to the Mississippi to fish bass with one of my lifelong friends, Aaron. The goal was to meet at the landing at 5:30 and it was an hour and a half from St. Paul, hence the 3:20 wakeup call…
Abigail and I managed to load up the truck and were backing out of the driveway by 4:00am—on time. As we drove across the portion of the Mississippi that flows only a mile from our house, an extremely dense fog clouded our vision. This fog stuck around for the first hour of our drive and caused visibility to be less than ideal. I don’t remember ever driving through fog that thick before, but thankfully we made it to the landing only 5 minutes late—and that was due to a mandatory KwikTrip stop—they are the best gas station, hands down.
When we arrived at the landing, Aaron had the boat all ready to go. I’ve fished with him most of my life. The dude lives and breathes fishing and hunting, and has no problem going to extremes to find success. We loaded up the boat and took off into the foggy Mississippi.
Aaron had recently placed 9th in an 85-boat bass tournament on the same water, so he knew his way around. We stopped at a wing dam on the south side of an island where Aaron had success, and sure enough, smallmouth where chasing baitfish everywhere. Within minutes, Abigail tied into a nice smalljaw, the strong flow of the current assisting the fish in the battle.
The wing dam provided a handful of other quality smallmouth before we decided to move down river. As we moved down we came across a school of white bass, identifiable by complete chaos on the surface of the river as they chased baitfish every which way. When you stumble across feeding white bass like this, catching them is almost a given. We each cast into the madness and caught a few. They give a good pull and are willing eaters, which makes them fun to catch.
As the sun came out and burned off the fog that had provided us cover, the smallmouth fishing slowed down, so we switched our focus to their cousins—the largemouth bass. Aaron drove his shallow boat through backwaters densely covered with lily pads and high grass. Several pike decided they wanted a piece of what he had to offer, much to his chagrin, but he did manage to catch a nice bucket-mouth from a recently flooded patch of grass.
We were 6 hours into fishing and it was only 11:30. The sun was now high in the sky and both the temperatures and pleasure boater numbers had increased, causing the fishing conditions to worsen. It was time to pack it up for the day and let those that had just woken up an hour or two earlier have the water for the afternoon. We loaded up the trucks and headed north to St. Paul in anticipation of a good afternoon nap.