There are roughly 15,304 known species of fish in the world according to Google. The word fishing is very broad when you consider the amount of different types of anglers and number of species. People travel across the world in search of their desired catch. I have several friends that get the itch to fish for red fish, bluegill, crappie, walleye, musky, pike and even trout. They love the variety and the love the chase of all the species. Fishing to them is broad, not limited in experiences and their mind roams from season to season as to what they want to fish for. My mind to the surprise of many is plugged into a single outlet…. black bass.
According to the state of Georgia there are 10 black bass species that they recognize with largemouth, smallmouth, spotted, shoal, redeye, Chattahoochee, Altamaha, Bartram's, Suwannee and Tallapoosa. In southern Indiana we mainly target 2 in the largemouth and smallmouth bass. Every now and then we run into a spotted bass but it’s not all that common. So in other words my window for being a multi species angler closes just a little more.
It started with bass #1, which given the previous was a largemouth bass. It wasn’t big, as a matter of fact it probably wasn’t even 15 inches but it was the moment that everything else went dark. The only thing I have wanted since that moment is to repeatedly feel that moment again and again. I don’t even want to begin to elaborate on the potential thousands of dollars I have spent to achieve that feeling. I dare to say bass #2 or #3 may have been north of $200 which is now about the average tackle order from Tackle Warehouse.
Tunnel vision makes it very difficult to even fathom that there are any additional fish swimming in our waters. Don’t get me wrong I have repeatedly tried catching other fish. My friends continuously tell me I need to "branch out". This past summer I even hooked into my 1st musky and while it was a moment of intensity it still did not register up stairs. I don’t know that my brain even processed it completely. Really I have not thought about it or laid out a plan to try it again.
My mind is consumed with my next bass and what I have to do to get it. The quest starts on a Monday as I lay out a plan on where I will be heading for the weekend. I look at Google earth, lake maps, watch bass fishing videos on YouTube; dig up old magazines based on the season and read different books all week long. I have a library of various information where I can almost point you to the exact area where article X is located. I can actually close my eyes and see colored photos that go along with it. 75% of it is geared at largemouth and the other 25% is smallmouth, which I consider my “adventure fish” since they are not as wide spread in southern Indiana.
In passing conversation when people find out you fish and say “I love a good mess of crappie” my mind shuts down. It’s in that moment I know we are not the same. Not that there is a single thing wrong with someone enjoying that type of fishing. I think it’s great they are out on the water enjoying life. I’ve tagged along on a very crappie trips; it’s just not my cup of tea so to speak. But if you want to fish with buddies sometimes you have to humor their needs like they humor your obsession.
Bass Crazy really is something and for the ones that get it they know it runs through them 365 days a year. Nothing compares, it just cannot. They almost need group therapy sessions for the people like myself but I’d willing to bet you money those sessions would end up like a tackle swap meet. There’d be stories told by anglers of memorable catches where they get that cold chill and the hair on their arms stands up. Instead of being a helpful thing it would probably spin us further into Bass Crazy… So maybe those sessions are not the best idea. I can almost hear it though “Hi my name is Chad, it’s been 2 weeks since my last Tackle Warehouse order”.
It’s just crazy to think out of 15,304 species most anglers get hooked on one fish more than the others. I like seeing the passion in others fishing for different species that mirrors passion I have for bass fishing. It’s also good to know because that leaves more bass for me and I want to catch them all. Maybe it's me and I am just a lost cause but it's a heck of a lot of fun to chase those little green monsters.