Bass season in Pennsylvania provides some great fishing opportunities
When I was young — I’m talking years 12 to 15 — I was a summer devotee to bass fishing. That’s not to mean I spent all my waking hours casting into bass waters, but I sure spent plenty of time fishing for them.
Don’t get me wrong, there were home chores that had to be dealt with, youth baseball, plus I rode my bike a few miles a couple of times a week to a friend’s grandfather’s farm to help (for low pay but good eats) doing some real farm work — basically throwing hay and straw and helping milk cows.
But there was always plenty of time for myself and two other friends to do some “fishin’.” When it came to bass fishing, we were extremely lucky in that a kind old man who lived close by our country homes would occasionally allow us kids to fish one of his two ponds for some of the bass that thrived there.
His two ponds were basically spring fed, but the upper one also had a small ditch of fresh creek water that drained into the pond from a nearby stream. In this upper pond the bass — plus other fish species — lived. The other fish pond was basically for trout,, that did well in the cold spring water that fed it. It was loaded with huge rainbows and browns that were wonderful to watch. Understandably, that nice-sized pond was off limits for us.
Anyway, with debarbed hooks, a can of nightcrawlers, instructions to cut lines if a hook was swallowed and to release all fish, we young anglers “bass fished.”
No fibs here, we caught some real whoppers. Some at least 5 pounds, and plenty of them smaller. It was great fun, and to throw them back to catch during another visit made perfect sense, and provided a memory that somehow remains vivid in my mind to this day.
Of course, that was a long time ago, and as we all do, my friends and I moved on through life. That bass pond is a mere memory from our younger years. Still, those long-ago episodes were a perfect foundation for the bass fishing I still enjoy, even if I do not do it as often as I would like.
Living in Pennsylvania, there is no shortage of places to fish for both smallmouth and largemouth bass. With such an abundance of streams, rivers, small impoundments, private ponds, varied sized lakes and a border with one of the Great Lakes — we Pennsylvania fishermen angling for bass are blessed.
Since my younger years when worms and freshly caught minnows were the way to fish for bass, much has changed. Rubber, plastics, edible bait replicas, spinners, tubes, hair baits, you name it, are all used for bass angling. Paid competitions for bass fishing are popular, and the market of specialized boats for bass fishing has made millions for numerous boat and motor companies.
Yet, for all the specializations bass angling has evolved into, I, in my travels locally, frequently pass some private ponds where fathers have small children with bobbers and bait trying their luck for a bass or two. That is always a good thing, and I hope it never ends.
Catching bass is fun, whether it’s for self enjoyment, or to have your fish weighed at the end of a tournament. For me, it’s strictly delight, and I’m sure glad I live in a state where I can still peddle a bike a short distance to a local stream, or haul my boat to uncountable places and have a chance at some great bass fishing. You can’t beat that.