(MELVERN, KS) – I'm six days into Road Trip 2013—the first four days took me to the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association conference in Lake Charles, La. From there, a mere 1,350 mile jaunt lay before me to Long Lake, South Dakota. That would be 21 hours, 42 minutes of driving – as Google Map flies.
I have my retriever Britney along, but she forgot her driver’s license. I needed a break halfway across the country, and as luck would have it, Steve Matt provided the perfect “break” locale. Steve says I can’t tell you exactly where we are. It’s a family ranch, aptly named, “The Ranch,” near the aforementioned city in the dateline. Beyond that, my lips are sealed.
This morning I well understood the desire for secrecy as I sat in his den sipping hot coffee, watching huge Kansas whitetail deer feeding across the field. Between me and the deer sat a 20-acre lake sporting Canada geese and blue-wing teal, the first of the huge mass of migrant waterfowl to arrive at this little Midwest paradise.
“I hope this cold front doesn’t turn them off, but hopefully we’ll catch some bass,” said Steve. “I’m just hoping the frog bite is still on.”
The “frog bite,” for the unknowning, is one of the most explosive forms of bass fishing there is. Weedless rubber frogs skip across matted vegetation until a bass decides – in a very violent fashion – to make it a meal.
Matt makes his living as a public relations and marketing representative for G3 Boats. It took some finagling but we soon had his G3 Eagle Talon afloat. The water temperature was a chilly 59 degrees with a brisk northwest wind, definitely not normal frog fishing conditions. The Ranch, however, is not a normal place. Four hours and about 25 bass later, we eased back to the house for lunch.
A quick four-wheeler ride to pull storage cards on some of his trail cameras, sporting photos of two major league Kansas bucks, and we were back at the house. Right now Matt’s brother, Paul, is headed for a deer stand.
We will tempt a few more bass this evening before I leave in the morning for the remainder of my northerly trek. Trust me – The Ranch will be a hard place to leave.
Richard Simms is a contributing writer, focusing on outdoor sports.
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