It was in the low 50’s and they were calling for winds in the 20-30 mph range at some point in the afternoon. For some reason I thought that meant it was a good time to do some running and gunning down the river.
Should have known better.
Started out all right, wind wasn’t that bad, but the first fish of the day sucked.
It hit hard enough, thought I nailed a big smalle. Then it started rotating on the line, over and over again.
I hate catching channel cats.
There’s just nothing appealing about these fish. Covered in slime, ugly as hell and that croaking noise they make has me thinking of smashing them on the head with a rock just to make them stop. I see comments all the time from other anglers about where to go to target them. I don’t get it.
There are times when I can feel that a stretch is dead. I was getting that feeling on this first stretch. Simple theory, a key spot should produce a hit or a fish. If not, most likely no other key spots for as far as you walk is going to be any better.
I hiked a good mile anyway, dumb move. I did find half of a newly hatched robin egg lying on the bottom of the river in a few inches of water. You wouldn’t think something so delicate would last all that long in a river.
The carp and quillbacks were everywhere too. That’s never a good sign when trying for smallies, they seem to get crowded out by the carp orgy. I guess one was a bit too old for all that spawning activity.
A reliable tree, one that has a nice hole near it’s root ball is starting to bite the dust. I’ve seen this happen numerous times over the past 16 years. The coming and going of what I thought would always be reliable landmarks.
Hiking back to the car, may as well admire the blooming phlox. Fills the woods with their scent when they cover the forest floor and all bloom at once. Should be soon when that happens.
Off to the next stretch, at least this was going to be a short walk of about 100 yards. Picked up a few and lost a few. By now the wind was howling out of the north and I was getting pretty beat up. Controlled casting was impossible and feeling the hits were just as bad.
Not sure why I didn’t take photos, except that would give away the spot. This one is too obvious and the fewer that come here, the better.
I’m being a spot snob. Get over it.
Off to the next stretch. Another longer hike both on shore and in water that was up a little and pushing harder. Not impossible, just a bit of a workout. I thought I would be out of the wind here. The wind now decided to come howling almost straight out of the east. I was losing the wind battle. Control was impossible, but luckily I was still able to feel hits despite the big bow in my line.
First a little fish.
Then it’s bigger brother.
In between were a bunch of others. That’s why I like counting the caught and the self released. Went 8/8 for the day, plus throw in the catfish if you must. 16 fish on isn’t a bad outing after all. As for the smaller fish, nobody told them they were small and in the river, half the time you can’t tell their size till they’re up next to you.
All I know is that the next morning I woke up with a pinched nerve under my left shoulder blade that numbed my arm and hurt like hell. And there was that nagging ache in my hip from the wading and hiking.
And I thought I was in shape for the season already.