For my money, one of the coolest things in life is to watch an uber-talented person get in “the zone.”
Two summers ago, I marveled as rocker Billy Joe Armstrong and Green Day ignited a crowd of 40,000 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. This spring, I was at the Moda Center in Portland when basketball supernova Stephen Curry overwhelmed the Trail Blazers with a virtuoso second-half performance.
Certain people’s gifts allow them to achieve at levels no one else can reach. And when they are dialed in, it is a sight to behold.
I recently had a similar experience while fishing with local bass pro Nick Young at Owyhee Reservoir. Nick and I met about a year ago, and on our first fishing trip together, I boated the biggest bass and nearly kept up with his fish count.
This time, I was in for a whole different can of (plastic) worms.
As is his habit, Nick began the day zipping around the expansive waters of Owyhee. He tried several baits at each spot before setting his jaw and announcing, “They’re not here, let’s not waste time.”
Mind you, we caught fish at nearly every location — just not in the size or numbers Nick was looking for.
Soft plastics were only producing occasional bites, so I played a hunch and switched to a crankbait. It quickly paid off with a big smallmouth that ate it inches from Nick’s feet.
“Right at the boat!” Nick cried. “Good call on the crankbait!”
Still, the action wasn’t fast enough. On we went until we reached a spot that held Nick’s attention. Nick’s fishing partner and cameraman, Kevin Tucker, joined the action and we soon had several fish landed.
Then, out of nowhere, pandemonium struck. Kevin hooked a nice bass and had another swimming alongside it trying to steal the bait. Nick immediately hooked up, and a big largemouth spit up three crappie minnows as he hauled it in the boat. On the next cast, Nick and I doubled up.
“We’re on it, boys!” Nick hollered. “Massive bait feed here. This is what we’ve been looking for.”
The next 45 minutes were a blur. Kevin and I were catching fish, but Nick was CATCHING FISH. He hooked up on virtually every cast, whooping and laughing all the way.
“Welcome to the Nick Young show,” Kevin chuckled. “When he has it dialed like this, nobody can keep up with him.”
I’m used to seeing a lot of fish, but this was angling at its finest. It felt like Nick had typed in a cheat code. No matter what baits we were using, he was a step ahead of us.
Kevin and I each finished the day with about a dozen bass caught. Nick caught two dozen on that one spot alone, and was easily into the 30s for the day. But he had one last trick up his sleeve. On the drive back to the boat launch, Nick insisted on a quick pit stop.
“Let’s pick up a kicker fish,” he said, referring to a big bass that kicks a smaller one out of your limit in a tournament.
Sure enough, two casts in, Nick hooked the biggest fish of the day — a 20-inch largemouth that had to be pushing 5 pounds. As I scooped it aboard in the net, we shared an emphatic high-five.
“Unbelievable,” I told him. “Calling your shot and nailing it on the second cast. Hats off, my man. You were in rare form today.”
If you want to see Nick in action, give him a call. He offers guided trips year-round on Owyhee — the top trophy bass lake in our region. Call (541) 709-1542 or check out Nick Young Outdoors on Facebook.
Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks with him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tightlines208.com.
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