Trey Schroeder – Summer Afternoon in Stephen A. Forbes Lake

Editor’s note: Our former blogger Trey Schroeder finished his first semester at McKendree University and his mom reported he is doing great balancing school and fishing. She said he always struggled with writing until he started writing about what he loved. He started with a writing strategies class at McKendree to help him with his writing and the professor told him he could write about fishing.  Here is one of his essays from his writing class.  

Trey Schroeder

September 14, 2018

It was just a normal late summer afternoon in Stephen A. Forbes Lake. The water color was dingy and only had about eight inches to a foot of visibility. The water temperature is 82 and my metabolism was raging. Being a four and a half pound bass has its benefits but do not underestimate me it is not just a cruise down the bank. Believe it or not but I have got places to be, places to eat, places to stage up after I eat, I need a spot with shade in deep water that I can tuck up into on a high pressure day, also shady areas in shallow water for the days it’s cloudy or actually too hot for my deep lair. I have to know what channels swing into the banks of the lake so I can make an easy snack as I travel from spot to spot and hope I don’t get picked off. On this day it was just average as could be there was hardly any boat traffic and the pressure was right in the middle and stable.

Earlier that day I spent my time chasing the five to six inch shad and wasted quite a bit of energy for what I gained so I planned on spending the rest of my day deep. I just wanted to make the most of what I ate that morning.

Right before dusk I felt something too good to be true. A faint methodic vibration a few feet away could mean only one thing,  a fat juicy worm. When I heard a slight tick I knew exactly where she was so I crept over and made out the silhouette of a large worm about ten inches long.  I sucked it up into my bucket mouth with one swift vacuumed motion. The suction from my mouth left the worm with one destination,  my belly…. So I thought….

When I inhaled the worm I felt a slight pressure, I assumed that the large worm just had some kick left so I tightened my grip and went for a small cruise. All of a sudden the worm started jumping and popping around in my mouth. I tightened my grasp again hoping to subdue the worm to my half full belly. After the fourth to fifth vivid pop and being pulled off track from my cruise I said to hell with the worm and released it from my deathly grip. I could not believe my eyes when it shot past my face at Mach ten and disappeared into the murky water of Lake Forbes. I had been played by a worm and I was furious at that moment. I vouched to destroy and consume any worm I saw. The rest of that day passed without any more strange occurrences, the day after is where things got interesting.

A peaceful night passed in Stephen A Forbes Lake. It wasn’t until the sun had just started to dawn when I heard a fleet of two stroke outboards rumbling and idling. It didn’t take long for the fleet to drop into gear and make way toward the main lake. I knew exactly what was going down and I was not excited… A bass fishing tournament had chosen to lay siege on my waters.

By mid-day I had seen probably a dozen different presentations. Some from different angles, different offerings, some even had me fooled for a brief second. These anglers must have been satisfied with the stupid dinks that plague this lake. This was not my first year in this lake. I had partaken in plenty of boat rides, Jacuzzis, the paparazzi, even had a close encounter with some Hoosiers who wanted to take me home for the night…

It wasn’t until late in the afternoon when my day took a turn that I could not have ever expected. I couldn’t, didn’t want to believe my lateral line but I knew what I was sensing. I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I saw the worm that had escaped me just the other evening. Usually I have a sense of respect for my meals but this worm crossed the line last night and the plump worm was coming right my way. The anticipation fueled my rage like gasoline on a bonfire. When the worm started to rise onto the log in front of my cozy lair I knew it was my time to strike.

I latched onto the worm with extreme precision, practically scarfing it down with one go. I was surprised when there was little resistance from the worm. It wasn’t until I was making my way back into my lair when my day changed drastically. The tournament anglers hadn’t even crossed my mind, my rage had blocked any sense that I built over the years of errors. I knew what I had done when I felt the hook jam into the roof of my velcro laced lips. I was not going to just show myself without a fight. I started bulldogging, trying to wrap and snag the anglers line but he was pulling too tight. I pulled even harder trying to bust his line into an overhanging tree but it wasn’t enough. I was pulled over the tree and I knew that my time and options were narrowing by the second. I shot toward the surface to propel my girthy body out of the water but I could only manage half of this beastly figure out. Thrashing and bulldogging my head again, swishing and swirling water everywhere trying to evade my inevitable fate. I gave one final pull toward the bottom hoping to bust any fracture in his line I may have caused or he was unaware of. I knew my fate was sealed when I felt the angler pull my weight with ease to the surface. Seeing the net spared me a slight amount of hope, anticipating his buddy would see my size and mess up the net job but he didn’t…

My first glimpse of the anglers and I noticed they were teenagers. The two were hooting and hollering as if they just stumbled into the fattest slowest group of shad in the lake. I was gripped and brought out of the net with an acceptable amount of respect. I was glad to find myself heading straight for the Jacuzzi. This kid already had water in it which I found nice because I wasn’t sitting in a dry box… the teen shut the lights and not a second after my treatment began. Two jet streams shot in and flowed over the top of my back filling the Jacuzzi with fresh oxygenated lake water. Honestly I am sort of mad that my treatment only lasted about five to ten minutes but why would I complain about getting back to my home fast. Before being released the anglers took my weight,  four pounds and nine ounces is what was locked in on the scale. I figured I was at least five pounds but that is only going to drive me to gorge down more shad. I had lost my relentless fight, my treatment was over, the anglers got to strut my girthy body and took my weight. It was my time to slide back into the murky depths of Stephen A. Forbes and recuperate after a long day of being a bass.