Tapping into the bass haven that is Pennsylvania

I admit that when I was a kid and trout season rolled around, I was always on a nearby stocked stream in the darkness of early morning, at a favorite spot, waiting for that opening hour.

A few other days in that first week, and every restocking, I was trout fishing local streams, hoping for a limit to proudly bring home. In all honesty, there were plenty of fish in my creel bag, but most of them were small, and the ones that did reach a foot were prized.

By the time school ended in early June my trout fishing was basically over, with the activities of summer that did not include fishing — all performed outside at the urging of parents — consuming most of the hours of daylight.

However, for a small number of friends and myself, fishing was never truly abandoned. Many days saw us ride bikes to creeks and nearby ponds for the panfish and smaller catfish we could find at these places. But a property with two good-sized ponds at a nearby neighbor’s was our much-loved destination, and that was because of the largemouth bass that swam in those waters.

On those few occasions every summer in which he would invite “ you kids” to come and fish his ponds — with a catch-and-release, no-barbed-hook decree in place — we’d double the speed on our bikes to get there quickly.

Casting big nightcrawlers on the end of a line that also deployed a small plastic bobber, we caught bass that were huge fish by our standards, with plenty of them actually trophy-sized.

Here in Pennsylvania, there are plenty of modern-day anglers who also love the members of the bass family, for both their plentiful numbers and size, and would rather fish for them than any other fish species in the state.

We are blessed with many, many lakes and ponds that hold excellent numbers of bass, and just about every one of our large rivers and streams are wonderful smallmouth destinations, with many having good largemouth fishing to boot.

And when it comes to the smaller creeks and streams, there is almost always good populations of smallmouth for the catching. And although their sizes tend to be on the shorter side, their fight on light tackle is a reward in itself.

While bass to the north of our state take a longer time to grow big, and some fish in southern states reach large size much faster, we here in the middle are pretty good at producing big bass rather quickly, too.

That bodes well for the fishermen who target this classic fish within our borders, because surely a hooked big bass making deep runs and spectacular leaps is the main reason they hold so much appeal.

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