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Bass may be popular, but not really a thing of beauty

There is a famous quote attributed to an old Montana flyfishing guide which goes something like: "Trout don't live in no ugly places." While trout waters almost always seem to possess a high degree of water clarity, scenic beauty and cool temperatures, the opposite holds true for bass.

Bass live and thrive in some of the ugliest waters known to man. When I think of bass waters, descriptive terms such as dark, murky, warm, weedy and nasty come to mind. After all, bass are a warm water species renowned for seeking structure.

Structure is an accepted euphemism for "lots of crap in the water to get snagged on." It's bass crap, the old pilings, thick weeds, downed trees, roots and stumps, rocky shoals, cribbing or anything that has sunk to the bottom of a lake. Find it and you'll likely find bass.

Bass remain the most popular game fish in the country, pursued by the common man. They are also the most widely distributed fish species in the United States, which now shares the World Record for bass with Japan, of all places. Bass go hand in hand with Skoal, Budweiser and NASCAR. In fact, I've been told that bass fishermen are really just off-season snowmobilers that couldn't get tickets to NASCAR.

We're not talking about speckled beauties or iridescent rainbows that fall prey to tiny flies cast on delicate leaders and fine tippets. We're talking about hogs, big ol' bucket-mouthed, tackle bustin' monsters with a bad attitude, dude!

Bass are the type of fish that require a baitcasting reel spooled with Razor Wire, attached to a rod so stiff it could be used for a pry bar in a pinch. Bass can be fished from shore with a simple minnow and a bobber or out of a sparkling bass boat that goes 75 mph and is decked out with a collection of angling gizmos that cost more than my house.

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