Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rebound Sunday-continued, “Part Two”

Epilogue: This is part two of the Sunday Rebound Saga. Part One discussed bass in one lake as where Part Two will cover the rest of the story on another lake. I also want to mention spotting Team JW out in the wild but I was too exhausted and not sure if he would have appreciated my interrupting his fishing to yak it up a bit. Team JW and James P are people that I really look up to on the fishing and forum scene. I should have at least said hello.

Sunday rebound Part Two:

Pulling off the main lake was a lot muddier than going in. The sun was pouring on the heat. Frost had faded and shortly after I was lugging the tooner across the trail and to the parking lot and then to the other section of ponds. This section of ponds seemed slightly cooler in regards to water temperature simply because of the treeline on the south side that shields the sun just enough to take things down a degree or two. At least the trails were dry even if the shoreline was not.

Starting at the west end of the lake I moved my way east cast at the shoreline and running the lure into the small trench. This was not the same type of vertical structure that had proven successful on the other lake but this shoreline was the most identifiable geographic structure that I could see. Dried cattails, branch and tree structure were also present and so inviting that an angler has to cast over there at least once or twice to see if anyone is home. Cast, cast, nada.

After an hour I was starting to think that I made a bad choice by pulling off the other lake and lugging all the gear over to this one. Then I look over my shoulder and spot a small school of sunfish congregating near by. Thankfully I had a rod geared up for baitfish and went to town. You see I have an addiction to panfish. Kind of expected this to be a bit early for bluegill and sunfish to be out so seeing this small school was sheer bliss.

(Above: Not too shabby and glad to get my season going with some decent pans.)

Panfish are not very selective and will hit just about anything small enough to get their mouths around. Typically I use fly patterns, baby shad plastics and micro sized grubs. These fish were not as aggressive as they will get come July but a few were willing to take the lure and pose for some shameless photo taking.

(Above: Here is a second bluegill with a darker color pattern and hunched body. As much as I love to catch bass in the warm water scene…I think these fish are just as spectacular in their own right.)

A number of bluegills were respectable in the 6-inch range with a few just beyond that. Didn’t see anything over 8-inches but maybe they will be present closer to the spawn. Words fail to describe my admiration for this species in regards to brilliant color and its importance in the overall ecology of any lake.

By now the sun is fading and so is my energy. Realizing that I still have to lug all of this gear back to the main parking lot, there wasn’t enough gas in the tank to fish another hour and still make it back to the parking lot. To be honest I was way past the point of no return in regards to my energy levels. My arms started rowing for shore with my will finally conceding to the fact that I needed to return to shore.

To port or not to port…that is the question

Here is where I run into a quandary. The shoreline on the eastern edge is dotted with three anglers. Both port locations are covered with one guy smack dab in the middle of the other two. As I am rowing my brain starts scrambling with a way to reach the eastern shore without making any enemies. Being courteous and respectful is paramount in regards to the fishing code, a code that has long been discarded by so many anglers in Colorado…that is a shame. The quandary here is that the three anglers are blocking the port in points and only about 150 feet between them. Had this been an official boat ramp the watercraft clearly has the right of way. 100 feet of distance from watercraft and shore angler is also part of lake rules in a lot of places, hence why I try to maintain this area of space regardless of whether it is enforced or not. So what is the right thing to do? At that moment I was not sure. If nothing else I might have to port on the far north or south side and walk an extra 500 feet or so.

Then I hear one of the shorebangers start blurting out some jeers. “Looks like that guy thinks he is in a triathlon or something!” He went along with some other stand up that I could not quite make out or even care too.

“Nice” I whisper to myself and change course.

Now I am going to do my best to split the distance on the eastern shore between the guy standing on port out spot number one and Mr. Jokes. I pulled it up on Google Earth and measured it out as a 75-foot separation between the two. This was only 25 feet off my original mark. (Had I known that Team JW was at port number one…well I would have ported on the north side and let them take the tooner for a spin while I took a nap on the shore. It wasn't until I had already ported out when I noticed-or at least think that was JW.) Mr. Jokes let out a few more comments that seemed to get more disgusted as I approached. Then eventually him and his buddy moved off to fish another section of the lake. No skirmish or hostile confrontation, which was a refreshing change from last year.

Anguish and labor…the downside of hauling all this @##%%^ to the water.

The pontooner doesn’t seem all that heavy at first. But after a few hundred steps the weight and pain start to sink in. The deck board adds a few more pounds and requires the handles to be pushed all the way forward. My wheel unit design is at the end of the tooner where as the Scadden model (that design is far superior to mine in many ways) is center based. This means that the weight is not displaced across the frame as much as it is focused on my arms. After hauling, fishing and then hauling again most of the day I was only able to haul about 1500 feet before taking a rest. Then 1000 feet spurts after that before reaching the truck.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

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