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  • Fishing Log: 10th Fishing Trip, May 23, 2016

May 24, 2016

Fishing Log: 10th Fishing Trip, May 23, 2016

Fish On! Not Bass, But Fish!

Where: Hawkins Pond, Center Harbor, NH

I returned to Hawkins Pond in Center Harbor, NH.

  • Acres: 91
  • Depth: Average: 11′; Maximum: 33′

Hawkins Pond Topo Map (1)

Put in at Hawkins Pond

Where every Hawkins Pond fishing adventures begins: The boat put in!

My notion that the water may be warming up at Hawkins (I thought my FishHunter recorded 85 degrees!; but later I realized that was the amount of battery charge remaining!) seemed to come true. I saw evidence of spawning in the form of bass beds.

Bass Spawning Beds

Light colored circle indicates a bass spawning bed


  • Temperature (Air): Warm! 60 degrees to 75 degrees
  • Sky: Sunny, then partly cloudy
  • Precipitation: 0%
  • Wind: N / NE / E / ENE @ 2 to 7 mph (Beaufort Wind Scale)
  • Pressure: 29.87 and rising
  • Visibility: 9.0 miles
  • Water Color: Clear
  • Water Temperature: 85 degrees?

Results: Caught 10! None bass.

My first pickerel at Hawkins Pond this year!

My first pickerel at Hawkins Pond this year!

My My friend, and fellow blogger, James, wrote a post in his blog, Spiral Revolutions, about the definition of “Success.”

Sometimes, you can get exactly what you want, and yet don’t feel that you have experienced success. The completion fails to satisfy.

Other times, you can have something you DIDN’T expect, plan for, want, or desire, and THAT turns out to satisfy you and make you happy!

One lesson: don’t let unexpected great experiences fail to satisfy you simply because they don’t fit a restricted definition of “success.”

==> Read the post here (and check out The Smiling BassHole’s comment!) <==

Was the trip a success?


Another pickerel!

I mention James’ post, because I had to ask myself, after fishing for bass all day, and catching no bass, WHILE catching 10 fish, was this a success?

Obviously, not if I restrict my definition to only catching bass. But I did catch fish, and on the lures I chose.

I caught 7 pickerel, 2 perch, and 1 bluegill (or sunfish, or pumpkinseed, or panfish, or, as my wife calls them, kivvies).

And another pickerel! But I won't show all 7!

And another pickerel! But I won’t show all 7!

Now, if I had caught 10 bass during that trip, I would certainly have been ecstatic! So why would these fish not count?

Hint: I’m no purist!

OK, I must confess, I’m no purist when it comes to fishing.

I was a fly fisherman who targeted trout, but now I fish for bass. Frankly, I LOVE the bass’s fight and pull! Trout are fun, sure, but the bass is a real treat to me.

Plus a perch!

Plus a perch!

Fishless until pickerel

The first few hours, I had no action at all. I cast to the shore, and fan cast to deeper water, and never had so much as a pull.

Then, I reached one of my favorite fishing areas on Hawkins Pond. Later in the season, there will be many nice bass hiding under the weeds, waiting for unsuspecting prey before they pounce on them and find my lure instead!

And another perch!

And another perch!

Here's the spinnerbait that did the honors!

Here’s the spinnerbait that did the honors!

And bang! I caught a pickerel! And that fish caused me to keep fishing.

A Peck of Pickerel!

I had a blast catching those pickerel! I always handle fish as little as possible, for their own safety, but with pickerel I’m especially careful.

Boone Easy Hook Remover

Boone Easy Hook Remover

Pickerel have sharp teeth, while I have highly sliceable fingers. Thanks to one of the Christmas gifts my wife bought for me, Boone Easy Hook Remover (long pliers), I am able to unhook and release the pickerel without even touching the fish!


Pickerel put up a good fight

I enjoyed catching those pickerel. I could sometimes see them charge into my sight and grab that spinnerbait. And then they tried to yank it right back out of my hands and into their lair.

So, it was fun!

And I do love spinnerbaits!

Bluegill? Really



A scrappy bluegill! Note the tiny lure!

Well, here we really need to consider our definition of success.

Because while was back in those weeds, I saw some nice sized bluegill swimming around. Now, as I said earlier, I ain’t no purist (sure, I’m a BassHole, but that’s not all I am!) when it comes to fish.

In fact, in previous years, I went out specifically to fish for bluegill, using my 3-weight fly line and small popping flies or nymphs viagra europa.

So, when I saw those bluegill, I decided to try and catch some. I got a tiny little spinner out of my tackle box (which I only knew was there because I saw them when I was de-barbing my other lures), tied it on, and threw it out. Of course you’re not supposed to use a 7-foot medium rod with 1o pound line, but, do I need to say it again? I’m no purist!

And a bluegill promptly obliged me by biting the lure!

So, surely this WAS a success!

Non-Fish Related Success!

These geese were just feet from me!

These geese were just feet from me!

A few trips ago, I wrote about seeing a mommy duck and her ducklings. On this trip, I saw 2 Canadian geese with 3 goslings!

They obviously did not see me as a threat, and calmly swam in front of me, then climbed out onto the shore.

I even got a video of the geese climbing out, but haven’t been able to get it cleaned up to add it yet, so stay tuned for that!

After they climbed on shore, I moved away since I didn’t want to disturb them. After all, this lake is certainly more theirs than it is mine!


So, it was definitely a success in MY book! I caught fish, I had fun, I enjoyed being out there and watching nature up close.

I did have some clear failures, though!

  • My FishHunter couldn’t connect to my iPhone. This failure has “user error written all over it.” Especially since just as I was leaving, I did get a connection! More study on how that works!
  • My finger don't work right!

    My finger don’t work right!

  • Something happened to my finger. No idea what or why, but while I was putting my flippers on my feet, suddenly my finger hurt. Then, when I went to drive home, I noticed it no longer went straight out!

Quick research showed it cold be one of 3 issues:

  1. Broken finger
  2. Trigger finger
  3. Jammed finger

I don’t believe I broke the finger, as I didn’t really do anything and it’s not swollen or painful.

It could be either of the other 2, but I’m hoping it turns out to be “jammed.” A trigger finger doesn’t ever recover, while a jammed one should get better all by itself.

At least I can still tie knots, cast, and type!

But, all in all, a day well spent and fish happily caught.

Let me know YOUR definition of success, fishing or otherwise, and leave a comment!

Tight lines!

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

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The Smiling BassHole

I'm a BassHole!Kickin' Bass and lettin' them go.

Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Another great post, BassHole! I always enjoy reading your posts, I can tell how much fun you had every time I read! I like what you said about success and how we need to evaluate it. Sure, you may not have got the Bass, but it sure looks like this fishing trip was a success to me. Hope your finger is OK too!

    Oh, and my definition of success? Being happy in what you are doing, whatever that is.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Matt!

      Glad you are enjoying the posts. And I sure do have fun fishing, learning about fishing, writing about fishing, and, well, anything related to fishing!

      I love your definition of success. Stay happy!

      And at least my finger works, doesn’t hurt, and hopefully will recover!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hello, Roger, and once again thanks for an adventurous and exciting story. I love reading your stories. Back home in Norway I love to fish but I don’t care so much about what I am getting, like you. I just enjoy to catch fish. My boy friend have a boat and we live by the ocean. I sometimes get seasick because there are waves in the water. I am a bit sensitive but once we caught three fishes each and that was a trip I will always remember. What I caught? Don’t remember. I do it for food.

    By the way, nice to see you on video explaining about the spinner bait.
    I hope your finger is ok so you can continue to knot, cast and type.


  • Hi, Roger! Thanks for the wonderful story. I have had my first catch this year about a week ago. And guess what? It was the same pickerels and perches! I love your photos, I think I need to adopt picture taking habit for I don’t have many of them with my catch.
    I think you’ve mistaken about water temperature- at 85 degrees your catch would be half cooked :).
    Keep us updated! Kirill.

    • Thanks Kirill!

      I agree about that water temp. Certainly that must have been a mistake. I may be able to figure that out, but yes, that would be very warm!

      So you got some pickerels and perch! They can be fun, certainly better than catching nothing! Perch are tasty if you like to eat fish.

      Yes, taking a photo of the fish is great. Of course my photo skills (especially selfies!) leaves a lot to be desired!

      Best would be when I can afford to get myself a GoPro, and capture the entire experience on video.

      One reason I take the photos is because otherwise, I lose track of how many I caught!

      Keep fishing!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Well, Roger I do completely agree with you and our common buddy James ( who’s blog is simply awesome like yours) that success is more about how we feel about what we get rather than achieving what we think will make us happy. People who are more interested in the journey are usually more happier than the ones who are too concerned about the end results.

    I too think that you were successful because you had fun and an interesting experience. I truly enjoy your posts because you love doing what you do..Cheers to your another great post!

    PS: – I hope your fingers are fine now.

    • Thanks Hari!

      Yes, I’m finding that researching techniques, and then attempting to utilize them, has made me slow down and enjoy the experience much more than just a few years ago, when I was all amped up trying to catch the fish.

      Also, I finally realized that until I can increase my range (and cover more water), I really need to focus on the water I can reach, and be certain I’m doing all I can to fish that completely.

      My local BassPro Shops store has a tournament among it’s employees. And the winner was a young man (kid, really) who, unlike the guys with the $50,000 boats, had a Hobie Pro Angler Kayak with Mirage Drive (you pedal it). Asked how he won, he said, “Everyone in boats when that way, I went this way.” And because he couldn’t travel as far, he fished more thoroughly.

      Lesson learned.

      As for my finger, it’s still crooked, but at least there is no pain!


      Tight Lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • WOW! 10 fish!?!? That’s a success in my books! I’d be ecstatic if I caught ONE of ANYTHING!
    That pond looks like a pretty good location. Nice and calm and other critters moving around for you to see. Looks like the weather was beautiful and I’m glad you enjoyed your trip.

    Hopefully your finger heals though. It would be horrible if that were a permanent condition.
    I know you don’t keep the fish and you just catch and release them but can you eat a bass? I know you can eat some types and some are really expensive like the Chilean Sea Bass but what about Large Mouth Bass?

    • Thanks Andy!

      Some fishermen wouldn’t have counted ANY of the fish I caught, since I was actually going for bass. No wonder we’re called “BassHoles”!

      I love Hawkins Pond. It is pretty serene. There are no large motors allowed on the pond, and I can row from one end to the other in about 20 minutes (with no fishing). Once I master the FishHunter, I’ll explore areas of the pond that SEEM like should hold bass, and try to find them!

      My finger looks worse than it feels. It is strange, but I can still use it, so (should I say it?) “keeping my fingers crossed” on recovery!

      You can indeed eat Large Mouth Bass (one of the species of black bass). While in San Francisco I learned bass were very popular among Asians, and indeed, the only largemouth bass I’ve ever eaten was cooked in a Chinese restaurant and served with a full meal.

      You should limit your intake of bass to 6 portions a month, due to moderate levels of mercury. And young children or expectant mothers should avoid eating it.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

      • Yeah your finger definitely looks bad but I’m glad you’re not feeling the pain. Hopefully you’ll recover soon. Ahh, I’ve never tried Large Mouth Bass before and don’t recall seeing it on the menu but then again I don’t eat fish too often so I could have just missed it. Maybe I should look for it and give it a try next time I’m at a Chinese restaurant.

        Actually I was in San Francisco around this time last year for vacation with my wife and we loved it! We were only there for 3 days so we didn’t have time to see everything there but it’s a beautiful city. Would love to go there again to see all the sights that we’ve missed.
        Good luck on your next fishing trip! Hope your next blog post will be “I Caught The BIG One!”.

        • Thanks Andy!

          Yes, San Francisco has plenty to see and enjoy. I lived there for 17 years, and there was still parts I hadn’t seen.

          It is beautiful, and was nicknamed by Herb Caen in the 1940’s “Baghdad by the Bay.”

          And I did fish there, too! I fished in Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. Never caught a bass, but did get a carp once. They’re good fighters!

          I seldom eat fish myself, mostly shellfish. So I just catch them and let them go. I’m sure they call me “That Big BassHole!”

          Thanks for the comment!

          Tight lines!

          Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hi, Roger!
    Thank you for your sharing! To be honest, I have never tried fishing since I was born. I always wonder how fishing is like. I enjoy reading your post. Because I can learn how it is like from your post. Maybe I should try it when I am free.

    • Thanks, Anthony!

      If you do decide to try fishing, be sure and let me know if you need any advice. I’ve done more than just bass fishing, so don’t be shy!

      Though right now, bass fishing is my favorite. But I know there’s a lot more great fishing out there!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Hi Roger

    Always enjoying reading your posts. Now that we have videos of you demonstrating, even better. I am almost tempted to start fishing here in France, we have a fishing lake near to us. How to define success Living a life with no regrets . . .
    Look forward to the next installment with the proviso your finger recovers.


    • Thanks Paul!

      Yeah, fish those Frank Fish! And let us know how it goes!

      I’ll be adding more videos in the future. It took me a while, and I still need to get a better camera for outdoor stuff. I’d love to get a GoPro, but so far don’t have the finances. Someday, though!

      My finger remains the same. But it don’t hurt none, and I can still use it, so not very worried.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Great Post! The pictures look amazing. I would love to go and fish this pond. I wish I lived closer. How busy does this pond get with fisherman? It looks like one of those places not many people would know about.

    Thanks for the video. I use a spinner bait a lot when fishing for bass. I would love to see some video of you fishing this pond. Maybe next time you can do some live action video.

    • Thanks Larry!

      It is pretty quiet at Hawkins. I have ever seen other fishermen (and ladies) there, but mostly just kayakers, and even they are rare. It’s a restricted water, so it’s always quiet.

      I’d love to get an action shot of me fishing, but so far haven’t had the ability to get a GoPro or similar camera. One day!

      Meanwhile, keep me posted on YOUR fishing adventures!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Great article, you are great at story telling. I would definitely consider 10 fish of any type a success. I’ve been on many fishing trips where there was no fish at all. So I can appreciate days where I catch something.

    • Thanks Sam!

      Yes, ANY action is a step in the right direction!

      Thanks for the compliment. When I was doing standup comedy, a headline comic asked if he could speak with me. I thought he was going to offer me a job! He said, “You’re not really a standup comic, you’re more of a storyteller.” I thought, “I’ll show you!”

      Eight years later I was ready to “take my act on the road,” but I was resisting. I realized that after years and years of training, trial and error, struggles, I had finally learned how to write standup: set-up, punchline — repeat. But that I didn’t enjoy writing jokes. I wanted to write longer pieces. Sure, I like to make people laugh, but I also wanted to make them think, make them sad, make them remember. I wanted to tell the whole story. I was more of a storyteller.

      That guy was trying to help me!

      So I got my Master of Arts in Writing from the University of San Francisco, and I’ve been fishing ever since!

      Thanks for the comment!

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

  • Nice site you have Roger. Very informative and well laid out. I wish I can do some fishing again. You are a very good storyteller. I am very busy at the moment but I will head to sea someday and do real fishing.
    Have a nice day.

    • Thanks Den!

      Hopefully, once you quit that day job, you’ll be able to spend more time fishing!

      Just remember to fit some fun in now, too!

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Tight lines!

      Roger, The Smiling BassHole

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