I have and this is my story.
I was fishing with my father-in-law at a local state park. The bass hadn't spawned yet but it wasn't technically "ice-out" fishing either. Just early spring when bass wake up with hunger pains. The name of the game is slow fishing, slow catching and big dreaming of egg-laden females in a class that begs the question:
"Where is the nearest certified scale."I was throwing a senko, blue and black, and we'd positioned the two-man boat in a favorite spot. The boat was in twenty feet of water and a short cast could land on a large shallow flat. It's a perfect spot for prespawn fishing where the women set up deep, keeping an eye on the boys who head shallow first.
As my worm came out of the water to start the next cast, the biggest goddamn bass I have ever seen came out of nowhere and swiped at the worm. She was within a pole's length of the boat and her movements rippled the surface without a splash. Her mouth was open and as big as a cereal bowl, her eyes were popped out and I saw the body's full width as it turned and slowly swam back down...never to be seen again.
It's the kind of moment where you are completely speechless as the weight of it all sinks in. I dropped the worm in a desperate move to turn her back, but that fish lives only in my memory and the human mind has a way of playing tricks with such stories. I have no pictures and no corroborating accounts, just me and the slow motion reenactment that haunts me to this day.
Was she really that big? Time has blurred my estimate on her weight but I do know one thing for sure: she was a pig. With every trip to that lake I go to a certain spot first. Shirley she is there; too smart to fall for our tricks.