The Relapse

Addiction – the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular thing, activity or substance.

Relapse – a deterioration of one’s state after a temporary improvement; to return to a worse state.

It’s been a whole four months now since the day it came crashing into my life and filled me with such a rush, something that I had never before experienced and one that I truly had a taste for. That first cast, what a feeling. It was like I was doing something wrong but everything felt so right. The sound of the bait smashing the water and creating the most enticing ripple, exactly the same sound as feeding bass when their boiling up on bait. The slow and painful yet methodical retrieve of the six inch morsel as it just barely quivers through the water column, looking and acting as natural as can be duplicated without the very hand of God. Slowly pulling the bait through the thickest of vegetation clumps and just as the bait slides through that last clump of foil it gets hit like a freight train, knocking slack into your line just as forceful as one can only imagine.

As you reel down to try to catch up with the chaos that has occurred under the water you set back to penetrate the hook and every muscle in your body restricts as your impeding on nature’s most severe course. The feelings that start flowing in your brain are a blur as your body starts releasing endorphins leaving you in a sedated state of mind. These heightened emotions quickly become frantic fear as you see the mouth of a fat five pound largemouth break the surface with nothing but a single hook of the Weedless Huddleston Swimbait lodged in her mouth. Sure you’ve fought thousands of bass before but none like this, the amount of energy a five pound slonch puts into destroying a six inch swimbait is nothing like anything you’ve experienced before. The brute strength of such an impact is as addicting as it gets.

Finally, as you reach down to lift that fish into the boat, all that emotion comes to a head. What a feeling! Insane to say the least. As you reach your hand all the way into that fishes mouth to pop free your Hudd, you can’t help to let out a scream! You dive to hug your fishing partner like you just caught the game winning pass in the Super Bowl. As you lift nature’s trophy into the air for the picture, your smile shows the evidence of a truly affected soul.

And then it starts. As you lean over the boat to release the fish you feel more like your releasing the moment. As that brute swims back into the darkness your left with that unsatisfied feeling, the urge to want more.

Like I was saying, it’s been four months since the weekend I spent being introduced to the real advantages of throwing large swimbaits. That weekend I learned a lot. There is truly a time and place for those baits and there’s not a body of water in the country that they will not be effective on in the right conditions.

Since then I’ll have to admit that it left me in a different state. I refer to swimbait fishing in my experience as one does to an addiction. To some I may be throwing that word around a bit loosely but really I’m pretty spot on.

Ever since that weekend I’ve wanted nothing more than to relive that but never found the opportunity to do so, or at least never had the kahunas to actually trust in it when the money is on the line. When my same buddies asked me to come up over deer hunting opener and cash in on that late fall bite, I was all in!

My good buddy Eric made the trip with me as he was wanting a taste of the dark side himself. As we dumped in on Saturday morning we were met with a stiff cold wind and temps in the mid 30’s. The water temp was floating around a chilly 42 degrees and all the trees in the area were vacant of their leaves. You could see the blaze orange spots in the woods where deer hunters were sitting in their stands.

I couldn’t have made more than a few casts when I felt that unmistakable rush, that very same feeling that I yearn for. As I flipped that giant into the boat Eric’s eyes light up like a christmas tree as he tripped over the seats desperately trying to get to the swimbait I had given him to tie on.

Just like that it was back, I’m telling you one fisherman to another, there’s no better way to catch them. The thrill itself is so rewarding that I bet a guy can easily remember every swimbait fish he catches. Heck, I can’t get rid of the vision when a big one loads up on the bait and gets off. Talk about being punched right in the gut. It’s utterly painful to endure. The “what if’s” that flow through your mind.

After missing a few bites, my buddy Eric fashioned a stinger hook that was really quite impressive and one that I’ll use 100% of the time I’m throwing these particular baits. In fact, the little invention quickly rewarded him with his first swimbait fish, a bass barely shy of six pounds caught by the stinger! The Hudd strikes again! Let me ask you, do you think he dropped that bait again? Another statistic to swimbait fishing.

For those of you that think swimbaits are just for California and wouldn’t work on your tournament pressured lake, your wrong. It’s weekends like these that prove this theory, I never got bit on any other bait the entire weekend. These baits attract big fish. Before winter freezes up your honey hole, get out and see what your missing. Come and play ball on this side, where the grass is always greener!

See you on the water!

Welcome to! A site dedicated to my avid fishing career. Join me as I share my honest approach to chasing a childhood dream full of obstacles, failures and successes, while traveling across the nation competing and advancing to the sports highest levels. I’ll share all that I learn from new tips and techniques as well as the hottest tackle and equipment. Join me as I document the everyday rigors of tournament bass fishing from the business as a whole, to the practice and all the way to the weigh-in stage!

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