After leaving work I drive to a small pond for an evening shorebang cast. When I reach the water my throat gasps at how low the water levels have gotten. It has been a little over a year since visiting this place last and the reduction in volume was a bit unsettling. Still determined I walk the shoreline and immediately step into search cast mode.
The south side of the lake has gravel and rock structure that was easy enough to navigate. But step beyond the rocks and your foot sinks as if you were in quicksand. Halfway down the shoreline I make that mistake by trying to retrieve a piece of trash in the water. Within a blink of an eye I am up to my knee in mud on my left side.
“Well there goes a pair of shoes…maybe the slacks too.” I mutter digging myself out. Later I repeat the same action chasing a small painted turtle.
Then I reach the other side of the lake that is void of any rock or gravel structure save for a few odds and ends. My feet are forced a distance from the shoreline for fear of mud. I see a large swirl in the water in front of me signaling an attack of a predator fish onto something munchy. Sling out just past the boil and begin the retrieve. Nothing hits as I roll the lure through the sweet spot. About ten feet from shore the line signals a heavy hit. Wham! I swing back on the rod tip, feel the heavy tug. I fight the fish for a whole two seconds before it shakes the hook. A few feet further down I cast and repeat the same instance on yet another fish. Missing fish sends me into a spiraling tailspin of frustration. Taking deep breaths I manage to calm myself, take some moss off the bait and sling it out again. Another bite and this time I set the hook right on the first chomp. A fish battle ensues and the reality then starts to sink in.
“Getting this fish is going to be a mess.” I say stepping in a foot of mud for the fish grab.
(Above: Beauty mud bass and this tire typically lies under several feet of water. You have to brave some serious mud to land these fish.)
Get the photo op taken care of and endure yet another trip into the murky stink of soft shoreline for as gentle a release as possible. This muck is nothing more than layers of sediment accumulated over time and has the consistency of butter. Upon releasing the fish I slip up and dip my tackle bag into the mud on one side. Turn quickly to try and minimize the damage simply making things worse. The bag graces my fishing reel, my slacks, pretty much smearing my left side with mud. One look at my reel and I knew I was out of the game…at least for tonight. Hopefully the reel cleans up nicely and slacks I can get anywhere. Fishing after work does come with some hazards apparently.
(Above: Here’s a shot of the entry\fish-land area with my footprints in view. Those prints go about a foot deep near the water’s edge.)
There are times when my fishing addiction is more obvious than others and even I have to admit that my activity borders on psychosis at times. After some pleading from my family and co-workers at one point in my life I met with a psychiatrist to see if there wasn’t some sort of help for my problem. 30 minutes into the session I show him a few fish pictures from the previous year (this was January at the time). He looks at me and starts babbling like a fish crazed goober.
“Wow…how big was that fish? Where did you catch it? Can you take me fishing? I need to fish more…”
It was everything I could do to leave his office without adopting a tag along for next Saturday.
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.