Pack up the belly boat, the waders, poles, load the tackle from the tackle bag into the belly boat and put it all into the truck. Drive down, pay the park fee, drive some more and park. Start setting it all up and realize that I forgot the @#$%^& crossbar to the belly boat again. I did this last year and swore it would never happen again. Why does “never” tend to fall on the Saturday that I am fishing?
“Get a stick, dumba##!” I chide myself for making the mistake and do the best with whatever can be found. Learning and adapting from my mistakes is starting to sound like a broken record in regards to my belly boating season this year.
Get in and the water is COLD! I am expecting the near 60-degree water that was present on a few larger ponds in the metro or even better. The water I was in now must have been straight runoff and a shade below 50. So, yeah, I am caught with the jewels in arctic water and only one layer of clothing in my neoprene waders. Had to fish for a while, port out for a while, fish for a while and pray for more sun as well as feeling in my toes.
Digging into the west side of what I call the “hot horseshoe” of this lake and things are a frigid no-go. Finally clearing out the last bit of the horseshoe and I get a bite that was hard like thunder. You know, one of those bites that you feel all the way to your toes. The fish put up a heavy fight in open water but was kind enough to race towards me, possibly thinking I was a large and odd-looking goose that would provide protection. One lift of the head and its bucket jaw was in my hand.
Get myself relaxed from the first fish and reset myself in the tuber about midway into a large cattail section. Casting into the cattails I am working my rig down any incline to the bottom of the lake itself. I search cast down a few yards and hook into another big fish. This one wants to pull away from me and tests the drag once, twice…and then run towards me.
“Same mistake your brother made.” I smirk while landing a second gorgeous bucket mouth.
The video of this fish turned out great and clips of both fish hope to make it into an upcoming highlight reel of The MAD Fishing Show’s 2010 season.
Cut across the lake to finish up the second half of the horseshoe. The wind favored this side less and was a bit rough going. You would have to cast hard and with confidence to get it where you wanted and half the time you spent digging gear out of the trees. Don missed a few bites here that could have been either a decent smallmouth or a baby loch ness monster. After five hours we couldn’t take the frigid water and wind anymore. Sometimes you can handle one without the other. I’m surprised we stayed in as long as we did. Making our way back where we started I reminded Don that our legs would still need the strength to get back to the trucks.
“Oh that’s right.” Don said with mild recollection. “I came in here with LEGS! Hadn’t felt them for so long that I forgot I still had them.”
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.