LINN, Wis. — Ben Garvens told of snorkeling on Geneva Lake when he was a kid.
‘‘We would go off of Black Point and anchor up,’’ Garvens said. ‘‘We would go down and look at the crayfish. They would fly out from under the rocks, and the bass would come within an arm’s length and eat them.’’
The things you learn underwater.
‘‘When I was snorkeling, I would see bass on every dock,’’ he said. ‘‘It was like walking into a dark room. You can’t see them until you’re under the dock.’’
Garvens interrupted himself to point toward the corner of a dock on the north shore.
‘‘There’s two bass swimming,’’ he said.
We both cast toward them. Against all odds, one largemouth bass whacked my grub and jig. I don’t remember the last time I cast at a sighted swimming fish and caught it, but I did Tuesday.
With that, Garvens and I had our picture fish and could pursue what we really wanted: smallmouth bass.
‘‘Not looking for quantity; I’m looking for two good fish,’’ said Garvens, 39, who lives with his wife and three daughters in Genoa City, Wisconsin, and works sales out of Rolling Meadows.
Whether it was luck or intuitive intelligence by Bob Clark, pairing me with Garvens worked.
‘‘I would love to catch a 5-pound smallmouth,’’ Garvens said.
The Lake Geneva Fishing Club started its most popular outing a couple of years ago, one in which a few media sorts are invited along. This year, suburban outdoors columnist/radio guy Steve Sarley, Midwest Outdoors’ Jim Quinn and I represented the fourth estate.
‘‘Beautiful, beautiful day,’’ Garvens said at the start.
The weather couldn’t have been more ideal. The fishing? Read on.
The report and suggestions by outing leader Billy Heim , of Night Prowler Guide Service, to club members at the start offered an inkling.
‘‘The one good fish now is bluegill,’’ he said. ‘‘They will bite all day.’’
In 40 feet of water, you could drop a piece of crawler to the bottom and catch bluegills all day. Though Geneva is traditionally a drop-shotting-in-deep-water lake, Heim said the bass bite would be shallow near shore. That’s where we caught our picture fish.
With that, Garvens and I agreed it was worth challenging Heim’s wisdom and trying for a couple of good bites deep.
‘‘My dad had boats on the lake,’’ Garvens said. ‘‘He was a small-engine teacher, so we always had these small engines where you could smell the two-cycle engine oil.’’
Garvens started us fishing humps and drops in 25 to 40 feet.
We really hit it off when Garvens described how he was roped into giving a talk on fishing from the back of the boat, a topic I have decades of experience on. Garvens got his first boat, a Ranger 620, this spring.
The back-of-the-boat talk led to the need to download the Navionics app, even by those in the back of the boat. Talk turned to fishing shops in general and the addictive nature of the Japanese Domestic Market tackle at Lee’s Global Tackle in Elk Grove Village.
What we didn’t see were any smallmouth, though we hit every likely point and hump on Geneva with drop-shots, Senkos and bladebaits.
It was one of those beautiful good days.
The LGFC (lakegenevafishingclub.com) meets at 5:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Cabela’s in Hoffman Estates.
Follow me on Twitter @BowmanOutside.