Local fisherman views bass fishing as tranquil challenge on water
Ferriday — As Sean Maples sets sail on his motorboat on Lake Concordia and casts his bait into the muddy water, he knows there is no place he’d rather be.
The Ferriday native and Vidalia resident has been bass fishing since he was a little boy with his grandfather, and learned at a young age how relaxing the water can be.
“I guess fishing is kind of my time to come out here and clear my head and sort through everything on my own,” he said.
Now 29 years old, Maples has yet to put down his fishing rod.
And his collection of rods, which started with one rod from Wal-Mart and grew to more than five rods which all serve different purposes.
Some are thinner, which makes for more flexibility, and some are sturdier for strength.
“It took a pretty good while to accumulate the bunch,” Maples said. “When I started competing in tournaments, I bought one rod, and when I would win a little money, I would buy a new rod and upgrade my stuff gradually.”
Maples chose to focus mostly on bass fishing when he’s out on the water because the challenge it raises.
“Bass fishing is more of a challenge, you have to be a lot more involved to bass fish because it’s harder to catch them,” Maples said. “They might bite good today and then you might have to try something different tomorrow. You have to figure them out, and I like the challenge of trying to figure them out,”
Maples has succeeded so far this year, placing second in the Concordia Bass Club tournament two weeks ago with a total weight of 8.98 pounds on five fish, and first in the same tournament a month before with a weight of more than 11 pounds.
Maples starts on the edges of the lake, throwing different types of artificial bait in the water from frogs to crawfish to smaller fish.
Some sit on the top of the water and some sink to the bed of the lake, and Maples switches the bait regularly to figure out where the fish are hanging out.
Thursday morning, Maples was just 45 minutes into his day on Lake Concordia when a bass started tugging on his line.
With ease, Maples lured in a 4.01-pound bass, but he didn’t get another bite for the next two hours.
Maples said bass fishing is unpredictable in that way often, and it can get frustrating when competing in tournaments.
“I’ve had days where I didn’t have a fish until 1 p.m. and wind up winning the tournament, but I’ve also had days where I started off pretty good, but got frustrated,” Maples said. “Once you get frustrated, it’s over.”
Learning patience is one of the many life lessons bass fishing has taught Maples, and it’s something he said he’s glad he learned one month before his son is expected to be born.
Maples said he plans to bring his son out on the water as soon as he’s of age, hoping to bond the way he and his grandfather did, and the way he did with his father while hunting.
But before his son is old enough to get on the boat, Maples said he’s never too young to be dressed for the job.
“We’ve already scheduled newborn pictures, and we will have him in a little fishing hat and basket with a fishing pole on it,” he said.