Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dealing with the breakdown...

My best friend in the world these days is my Pathfinder. When I bought the vehicle a few years back I knew the clutch was a little bit soft. Time wore on and so did the part. The noise it would make at times was unbearable and reluctantly the vehicle had to go into the shop at a very crucial juncture in my fishing calendar. Big weekend plans were on the hook so to speak so waiting wasn’t an option. I wrote down two goals on a notepad…Get clutch fixed, FISH!

The place I have used in the past has been very reliable. I made the call and they said it would be a one-day install. But I should have prepared for worst-case scenario factoring in auto supply chain turmoil. The clutch had developed a worn bearing sleeve. Not an easy part to get and the one-day install became a much longer project. The wait for the part spilled over into the weekend and all plans were pretty much destroyed.

At the last minute I borrowed a car and loaded the tuber for some belly boat action. I was pretty bummed about the cancelled plans and knew my mind just might explode if I didn’t get out there and cast at least once or twice. Half my rods were set up for the high country trout scene but a few backup rods were in disarray. Those rods were wiped down, re-spooled and rigged for bass. Not ideal but would have to do (generally I try to spool the reels up 48 or more hours before the trip).

Early start at 5AM…this is good but 4AM would not have been out of the question for some fishing spots this time of year. Haul the tuber to the water, port in and start fishing the heavy, heavy weed bed. Weed growth varies greatly depending on the pond. This place is damn near “choked”. The holes and pockets created by the weed structure is where I started. Threw a number of casts with varying garb…nothing but bites from sunfish. I was knocking on the door but Mr. Hawg didn’t seem to be at home.

Then I get a solid thump of a bite. The rod snaps back and sets the hook. My hand is already cranking to bring the fish in but it had burrowed into the weed bed. I tried to horse the fish out and the line fell limp. The fish had come off the hook. This can be a problem fighting fish in heavy salad. With a deep sigh I brush off the frustration.

A few casts later and I get another solid thump. I put another heavy hookset onto what feels like a big fish. The rod is lifted as high as I can while cranking like a madman.

“Stay up. Stay up. Baby, stay up!” I murmur to myself. “Don’t go into the muck!”

Damned if that isn’t exactly what he did. Deep down into the weed bed and stopped. This fish wasn’t going anywhere. All could do was swim over and past the fish and try to ease it out of the underwater foliage. Tug, tug, tug. I pull as easy as I can get away with and the fish barely moves. Finally a few strands of plant break off and then a large piece of the weed-matte gives away. My hand reaches out and grabs the pile. Then I lift it all up by the lip to get the photo. Half of the pile falls back to the water but you get the idea.

(Above: Belly boating bucket with salad on the side. Literally had to dig this fish out of the weeds.)

The rest of the fish were nowhere near as hefty. I missed a few fish that may or may not have been as respectable. The smaller fish were not as prevalent at this location but still mobbing my lure at times. These little scrappers are too aggressive for their own good. Competition in the 4” to 12” size slot is pretty fierce right now. I could throw 12” lures and they would still hit them. Whatareyougonnado?

(Above: This is a great shot of a lily pad flower. They come in pink and white. Notice the bee flying in. Sometimes I get a non-fish picture that really makes me smile.)

It was a fairly short trip. I didn’t end up getting the vehicle back until Monday. Back on the road now but still have an issue either in the transfer case or possibly the transmission. Some of this I can do myself but I’m not really setup to replace transmissions and axles. If it ends being too much I gotta get a new rig.

“Sonofa!” I exclaim in the back of my head as reality sets in. “I wasn’t done breaking that one in yet.”

Good luck and Good Fishing.

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