Catching a ‘mess’ of fish — old school

Photo contributed“Mess” of Black Bass and Crappie caught with a topwater classic.

I don’t think Rick Graham will mind a bit if you call him, “old school,” especially when it comes to bass fishing. Rick has been enjoying catching and eating black bass and other species for many years.

Recently, Rick sent me a photo of the glorious results of a night’s fishing on a local lake. When I asked him if he would mind sharing some specifics of the outing, I offered my usual guarantee to keep any closely guarded secrets like hidden “honey hole” waterbodies confidential.

But Rick was happy to immediately declare he caught the mess of smallies, largemouth, and a crappie fishing a white Heddon Torpedo topwater at night on Copake Lake. I must say I didn’t expect him to divulge not only the lure and tactic used, but also the timing and location for all to read in this column.

I can only surmise that Rick wants to share his love of fishing with everyone, inspiring others to get out on the water and have fun catching lots of bass and other species. In fact, a surefire way to “hook” someone on freshwater fishing is to have them cast the right floating plug in a flat, tranquil setting, only to be rudely interrupted by an explosion at the surface signaling game on for a battle with a big bass. If that doesn’t do the trick for the prospective new fishermen, they may want to consider a different pastime!

Old school fishermen like Rick Graham have been nailing bass using that method for generations. With the “mess” of fish on the stringer home and cleaned, Rick says to wrap them in foil with butter and lemon, along with your favorite condiments, place in the oven at 300 degrees until they flake white. Rick added once that’s done, “Your living in the country, my friend!”

Speaking of “old school,” the top water “Baby Torpedo” was first introduced by the Heddon Company in 1925. Early versions were made of wood and sported glass eyes. Today, they are plastic with painted on eyes but the classic lure continues to be a highly effective topwater bait, still catching lots of black bass more than 100 years after its inception.

The tried and true Heddon Torpedo can be worked in a variety of techniques. Slowly with twitches and pauses, or reeled at a constant, medium retrieve like a buzz bait. It can be worked near rock and other structure in rivers for smallies, or twitched among timber or weedy cover on lakes and ponds for their largemouth cousins.

Established in 1894, Heddon is the oldest lure company still in continuous production. Its classic Torpedo is readily available in stores locally for a few dollars each in a variety of colors, including one of Rick Graham’s favorites in red and white.

While the demand for new technology and design has produced so many phenomenally effective new lures and techniques, from $20.00 Z-man chatterbaits, to dollar-a-piece Senkos and $12.00 plus Whopper Ploppers, it’s nice to see a reasonably priced classic like Heddon’s Torpedo going strong in today’s tackle boxes; still catching a “mess” of fish.

Happy Hunting, Fishing and Trapping until next time.

Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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