Slappin’ The Bass

Words and Photos: Copi Vojta

I scour maps for obscure bodies of water. Small is best. Small warms first. In April most water remains closed. I find blue shapes and marshy bogs, maybe full of fish. After cross-referencing with a Sunday paper sized regulation booklet, the list is shortened. Not discouraging, this is trial and error. Putting in time the old fashioned way. Each fish earned will be forever more valuable.




Yesterday, we fish a settling pond. It is the type of spring evening you read about. The bass do not come right away. They are healthy when they do, but we know to fish lightly. The day before I fish in the shadow of a refinery. One eye is on the water and one eye is looking out for authority. The Rainier does taste better. I catch one small bass. It is the only fish I’ve touched since the 13th of March. The birds are noisy and the grass loud in the breeze. It smells like gas and the great out of doors. It is April and everything is growing.





Today, I meet Blaine who is a truck driver. He is shirtless in the high sun. His gangly arms hang over his belly when he sits. He has never fished here and after thirty minutes drowning Powerbait he is not impressed. It is hard to be impressed. His friend is across the water in a pontoon. I show Blaine my fly. He asks where else I fish. I say as little as possible. There is litter everywhere. Large passenger jets fly loudly overhead. I see a small bluegill sunning in the shallow water. I think I will return one evening with a boat and catch bass.



Unexplored and unknown, I might stumble upon something to keep to myself, or stumble getting to the water. There are no comfortable rocky mountain trout streams here. This is not the gloried bass fishing. It is my rookie season in the Pacific Northwest and it is daunting. Slowly I will piece it together and be rewarded in unusual ways.


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