I just found another reason to love the Kansas Flint Hills.
Before I traveled to Council Grove for an Outdoor Writers of Kansas conference, I already had a long list: the endless prairies, the deer and turkeys, the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, the friendly, down-to-earth ranchers,…
Now I have one more item to add to that list – bass fishing.
OK, I know what you’re thinking. The Flint Hills aren’t exactly known as Bubba country. Fishermen think of the Ozarks, Arkansas or Oklahoma when they think of bass in these parts.
But two days in May with good friends convinced me that the Flint Hills are bass country, too.
My tour started Monday when I met my long-time bass fishing buddy Rick Dykstra at Council Grove City Lake. We fished this community lake many years ago and still have good memories of that trip.
Rick used a spinnerbait and I cast a black and blue jig and pig that day, and we caught many keepers.
“I haven’t fished here since that day,” said Dykstra, who works for Acorns Lodge on Milford Lake. “But I’ve heard that it still has good bass fishing.”
It didn’t take us long to find out. While I was parking the trailer, Dykstra (above) made three casts and hooked a 3-pound bass on a spinnerbait similar to the one he used years ago.
Not long after I hopped into the boat, I cast a white spinnerbait in the same area and hooked a similar-sized largemouth.
“Twins,” Dykstra said.
We fished the rest of the day and caught and released many other bass. Though most of them were smaller than the first two, we enjoyed steady action, catching largemouths on everything from a Ned rig to small swimbaits.
The next day, I joined another good friend, Phil Taunton (below), to one of the Flint Hills farm ponds not far from Council Grove that he has permission to fish.
We crossed the prairie to a body of water that we knew well. Phil and I fished the pond in February and the landowners caught a huge bass at our side.
We immediately headed for that spot where timber, rocks and brush jutted out of the water, and we again found success.
Casting big spinnerbaits, we each caught hefty keepers…and came away with a story about the big one that got away.
As Taunton retrieved his spinnerbait past a rock, his lure disappeared in a swirl and the fight was on. He battled the big bass for a minute or two before it escaped.
We each caught and released many bass over the course of the morning, and we were like a couple kids who had just discovered a new fishing hole.
We each switched to lighter tackle and finesse baits and caught more bass than we could keep track of.
By early afternoon, it was time to go. But I’ll be back.
When you can fish in a place like the Flint Hills and catch bass like we did, it’s hard to keep me away.