If the truth were known, fishing season never closes, as the real, hairy-chested fisherman will find a way to go into action almost any old time.
He’s kind of like the mailman, in that “neither rain nor snow,” etc., will keep him indoors when the fishing bug bites, and in case you hadn’t noticed, the springtime fishing season is upon us, and that means we have two choices — to go fishing, or to wait until later, and this boils down to two more choices — to wait until all the signs are in favor, or to go anyway and see what happens.
But, as usual, there’s really no question of choice with our hairy-chested guy, since he’ll go no matter what, while the not-so-hairy-chested guy stays home. If you’re like most, you’re dead set on going even if it’s raining, but it’s not, so things are looking pretty good, and let’s face it: If you’re being serious about it, not much in the way of weather would stop you anyway. After all, you’ve got your rain gear, which will keep you dry, so unless we’re getting one of those "everything" storms, you’re already halfway out of the house, come heck or high water, and as long as the visibility is reasonable, that’s good enough. There are fish to be caught, and I’m just the guy to catch ‘em.
First, check to be sure that my tackle is ready — rods, reels, tackle boxes and tackle, the usual assortment of lures, so if they don’t like this one, there are at least three or four more choices, and everything goes into its proper place in the boat, ready for use at a moment’s notice.
Next, double-check everything about the boat (after all, we don’t want to get stuck at the far end of the lake just because we didn’t start with a full tank of gas), bring the car around and hitch up the boat and trailer, and give everything one more final check just to be sure, then head for the water.
It’s decision time again. Lake or river?
No problem. Yesterday’s fishing forecast looked really good for some lake fishing. Lots of sunshine, light winds, and the barometer is rising, and because fishing on the lake is always our first choice, it’s closer than to the river, we’d rather fish on the lake anyway, and we can launch the boat at our favorite ramp, so the decision is final.
We can try the river some other time, so look out lake! Here we come.
For once, there isn’t a lineup at the ramp, so we’re launched and on our way in practically no time.
There are three or four favorite fishing holes to visit — the ones we never tell anyone else about, and one in particular that is almost guaranteed to pay off. We took a 3½-pound bass out of there last fall, and it always has at least two or three smaller ones hanging around, just waiting for me to catch, and they’ll look pretty good in my livewell — even better in my skillet.
We usually stick with the Catch and Release program, but it’s OK to keep a couple now and then. After all, if you do it right, a guy can work up a pretty good appetite out here, so let’s visit those favorite spots, catch a few, release most of them, and save two or three to put the finishing touches on a perfect day.
At the first stop, it takes only five or six casts to put that lure in the perfect spot, and a nice fat two-pounder cooperates.
That’s a pretty good start.
At spot No. 2, it seems that nobody’s home. We cast our lure again and again, and after ten minutes haven’t caught a thing, so we move on to spot number three.
Jackpot! On our very first cast, today’s best fish cooperates, and we add a four-pounder to the livewell, plus two one-pounders with a few more casts.
There are a couple more spots we could visit, but enough is enough, and we want to save some for next time, so we head for the launch ramp, load the boat back on the trailer, release most of the fish, and head for home.
There’s a skillet waiting for the two fish I kept.
Add a couple of hushpuppies, and that’s about all a guy can ask for.
And if that’s not a perfect day, it’ll do until one comes along.
— Newton columnist Mike Morton writes weekly for the Kansan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.