Photos: Choosing the Bass Pond Over the Gym

Written by: Preston Ailor


Catching a nice largemouth is a plenty good workout.
Photos by Preston Ailor

I was supposed to go to the gym today.

The weather this morning was apocalyptic, as the weatherman predicted. The storm front rolled in with low, dark, ominous clouds that opened up and released torrential downpours. Knowing this would happen, I had my gym bag packed and ready to go, so I could hit the gym before I picked up my daughter to take her to gymnastics. But by lunchtime, the clouds had cleared up, and things were looking pretty good.

Being on a purely superficial health kick, I was eating my carrots and talking with a coworker at lunch.

“If the weather stays good, I may skip the gym and get a quick fishing trip in.” I mentioned.

“Do you have your rod in your car?” my coworker asked.

“Always. You?”

“Nope.”

Rookie mistake.


The lily pads coughed up a pair of bass in the last fifteen minutes.

It was still partially sunny but very windy when I left work. I loosened my tie and threw it in my gym bag. Seeing my workout gear ready to go, I knew what I had to do.

I decided to hit one of the roadside distractions I have found. This pond is not more than a couple acres, but is strewn with lily pads and fallen logs. It has never really been productive, but I felt that it was the best shot since it was close and I was on a time crunch. I didn’t really have great expectations, seeing that it was a window between two storm fronts, but my grandfather, a local outdoors writer, always said, “The best time to fish is when you can.”

I pulled up to the distraction and tied on my goto bass pattern, the CK Baitfish. I saw a fallen log and went after it. Something was there; I knew it. I carefully worked my way through tall grass and briers, still in my slacks and work shoes, trying to make it to a good spot to get a cast. The back-cast was technical because of the trees behind me. I couldn’t quite get the angle I wanted. I waited for a gust of wind and cast into it; the wind took the fly and line parallel to the tree. I was feeling pretty good about my problem-solving skills.

After just a few twitch-pauses, the fly got crushed. A bass with a broom for a tale just murdered the fly. It was a great fight, and I was feeling pretty happy.


“Fish when you can” is a pretty good motto.

I looked at my watch and saw that I still had fifteen minutes before I had to pick up my little girl. I picked around the lily pads, and two more bass obliged. Each one was eager to shoot out from cover and smash the baitfish pattern.

It was a good trip and good for the soul.

Preson Ailor is from the Northern Neck of Virginia, the peninsula between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers. He writes about fly fishing on his blog, Discovery on the Fly . He previously wrote about his “20 September Days” experience and good bass fishing in Texas. Check out his blogDiscovery on the Fly.

One thought on “Photos: Choosing the Bass Pond Over the Gym”

  1. Damn, that sounds familiar. I went on a business trip with my wife last week and just for the heck of it I put my flyrod in the car. She is on the board of directors of her college and there just happens to be an old quarry and a small stream near there. Yes, I know I was “suppose” to be at a lecture but for some reason the car would not go in the direction I wanted it to go. Didn’t catch anything but…….

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