Wish I'd Said It

Weeds are flowers too - once you get to know them.

- A. A. Milne

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Gone Fishing

It had been much too long since the last time I’d gone fishing. My spirits were as bedraggled as a soaked kitten’s.

The fact there was a bunch of cars parked at the bridge didn’t really faze me. I knew most of the guys would be fishing north of it - where most of the fish were. I was headed several hundred yards downstream, towards the lake. I’d druther fish where there weren’t many fish as long as I had some space to myself.

Only one guy was working “my” spot when I got there. I set up a respectful 50 or so yards away and proceeded to get my first professional overrun (“backlash” or “tangled line” for you fin-impaired folks) on my 2nd cast.

Five minutes of cursing and working out the tangles later, I made my 3rd cast, and this time there was no unravelling that mass of monofilament spaghetti. I cut the line, sat on the bank, dug out some new line and started refilling my reel. And promised never to use line more than six months old, ever again.

While I was in the midst of that little chore, the other guy packed up and started walking back towards the bridge. As he passed, I asked if he’d had any luck. He replied in the negative, saying it had been dead for the three hours he was there.

Fuelled by my usual mixture of faith and foolishness, I was undaunted. I moved to his vacated spot and began drifting a small worm under a float.

The sun was warm - though the wind found gaps in my clothes and reminded me it was very early spring. The worm wasn’t working so I switched to an artificial grub. Nothing doing there either. Time to use the tried-and-true roe bag.

An hour and a half meandered by without a sign of a fish. My shoulders and arm began to hurt - in that good, fishing-caused way. The water looked perfect - high and slightly dingy. There had to be a fish or two around. They couldn’t all have moved up to the off-limits spawning areas yet.

I was watching two gulls squabble over something when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my float slip under the surface. I belatedly, but not too belatedly, set the hook and was overjoyed to feel throbbing resistance. My 11 ½' rod (it’s not the size - it’s the tricks you can do with it) bent into that oh-so-lovely C-shape.

After a 2 or 3-minute spirited tussle, I eased a 4lb. steelhead to the bank.

Usually I like to release my first decent fish of the year but I was pretty sure it would be the only one I’d catch today. As I dispatched it, I mentally promised to release the next one, whenever it might come along.

It came along about an hour later. This time a 5-6 pounder, a fine male already sporting his spawning colours.

A fishless hour after that, I packed up and trudged back to my car. My hip waders had somehow gained 10 pounds each. My back had joined my shoulders and arm in the pain department.

And my spirit soared. I felt renewed - as happy as I’ve been in months.

Tomorrow I’m gonna do it again.

The above post was written for the layperson, the non-anglerphile. For those of you who consider fish slime to be a cologne and who feel naked without at least a couple of scales clinging to your clothes - read on....

I use two rods: a 9' light-action for bottom-fishing and for casting the occasional piece of hardware, and an 11 ½' noodle rod for drifting under a float. Water clarity was only about 16" so I decided not to bother with a lighter leader and just fished straight 8lb. with each outfit. (Trilene XL, by the way - still my favourite all-round line after all these years.)

The first fish hit a drifted roe bag, tied with white mesh, tipped with a bit of a teaser - a single Berkley Power Egg in fluorescent orange.

The second came during a lull in the current flow when I used the 9-footer to lob out a small, air-injected worm weighted only with a couple of BB shot about 14" above the hook.


uniquematerial said...

What flavors of fish do you have up there, Frank? I'm a catfish and mullet fan myself. :)

I read the second half of your post (the part for the 'fish-speak' folks - you and Dawno have a lot in common. Namely:當我讀了技術文件, 他們全都看同樣: 胡說, 胡說, 胡說, 胡說。 誰再寫在英語嗎?

mogie222 said...

So, if I come up your way, will you take me fishing? Pleaseeeee

Mark Pettus said...

Man, I live on the water and desperately need a day fishing. You make it sound so enticing. How many hours were you out there?

Frank Baron said...

Unique: Cats are a-ok by me too. We don't have mullet around here. I mostly fish for walleye, trout (rainbow, brown and brook mostly), salmon, bass, muskie and pike. For eating, nothing (but NOTHING) beats a pile of golden-fried walleye fillets. (Though catfish is pretty darn good.)

mog: FINE! But you have behave in the car, put on your own worms, and be prepared to pee behind a tree without whining.

Mark: I was out for about four hours. Take a day off and get your line wet man! Life's too short.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fishing good time. I used to love fishing with my grandmother. I remember catching my first fish. I was so excited. I haven't been in at least a couple decades.

Anne C. Watkins said...

I haven't been fishing in waaaay toooo long....now I wanna go.

Frank Baron said...

Vanessa and Anne, how close do you live to each other? Maybe you should hook up for a day's fishing. :)

Dawno said...

I have never been fishing. And before you start planning that perfect day to teach me how, I don't like the idea of putting worms on hooks. Or cleaning fish. I think it's wonderful that other folk find peace and contentment holding a fishing rod. It sounds like you had a perfect day, and I'm very happy for you. May tomorrow be just as perfect.

Esther Avila said...

I loved the story, Frank. Thank you for telling it (first part) in lay terms so that I could understand. I have three girls, I need to take them fishing. I bet they would love it.

Frank Baron said...

Dawno, you don't need to use worms and someone else can clean them for you.

By the way, I got skunked the following day (but 4 guys were fishing in "my" spot - I couldn't get close).

September, I hope you take your girls out some time. I bet they'd love it. Drag Dawno along too.

Mac said...

wow--I like the part where you start speaking a different language, two thirds of the way through your post.

That much jargon makes most people bleed out their ears. *grin*

Anne C. Watkins said...

So when's that fish fry again, Frank? I whip up a mean hushpuppy. lol

uniquematerial said...

March 28th -
gee, that was one week ago, wasn't it?

HINT HINT HINT....love ya.

Frank Baron said...

Mac: :P


Anne: Where do you live again? I've only heard of hushpuppies and I'd love to try them. But how do you keep them quiet while you're cooking them? I think I'd like to try a Beagle.


Unique: The new one is for you. Love ya too. :)