May 7, 2005

Everything I Ever Needed To Know

I learned from fishing? Nah, but I learned some important stuff today.

The cardinal rule of fishing is that you should never take anything in the boat (or for that matter, anywhere near a lake) that you will miss if you lose it. This includes your car keys, your cellular phone, and your pet iguana, Tijuana Fred.

I didn't lose anything in the lake today. That was the single high point of the day. Things I learned today? Let's review.

  • Your new reel will snarl a HUGE bird's nest the first time you use it only when your backup rod and reel aren't ready to use.

I swear, the second cast of the morning, and I've suddenly produced the biggest bird's nest I've ever seen. I think I must have cut out half a reel's worth of line from that one snarl.

  • Bream and Sunnies will tease you unmercifully by staying right in the shallows where you can see them, and will spend the time striking the surface of the water like there's no tomorrow, while having mouths too small to swallow anything but a mosquitoe larvae.

I spent the entire morning watching these little olive-drab bodies swimming around, making tiny vortices with their fins, and in general being a nuisance every time I ran a smallish lure back into shore, because they'd try with all their might to take that 1/8th of an ounce lure into a 1/32 of an ounce mouth. Every time. Teases.

  • The nosiest children in the entire forest preserve will show up on YOUR pier the second you get settled in.

They did. Their idea of fishing was to scream so loudly at each other that the fish simply give up in disgust and hop into the kreel.

  • Guaranteed you will lose the most expensive lure you own, especially if it was a birthday present, on the single submerged tree in the entire lake that's PARALLEL to the shore, rather than perpendicular.

Oh boy did I. I've fished that stinking lake so many times I know it like I know my own backyard. This tree came out of NOWHERE, and somehow, instead of being more or less straight out into the water from it's fall from the bank, and as an aside a nice haven for lunker bass, it was parallel to the shore, and now holds a beautiful classic 14k gold plated double willow spinner bait in white and chartruse which I got for a birthday present. I think I had tossed it a total of six times. Some fish right now is laughing his tail fins off. And making a hammock out of the thirty feet of 10lb test line I had to cut off.

  • As an addenum to that, you will also lose a second, less expensive lure on the same tree, only about five feet further along, when the huge soc-a-lait hits the water like a freight train.

The fish hit, I fell for it, tossed a brand new slightly-less expensive white wiggle-tail grub (the sure-fire bait for white perch in that lake) and immediately hung it up. Fortunately for me my knot-tying skills aren't all that, and I simply tore the line loose. Still didn't make me feel any better.

  • The mosquitoes ALL breed at the lake, then lie in wait for unexpecting eyes and ears to fly into.

There were so many stinking mosquitoe midges out there that the spiders were throwing back the small ones. Their webs were so heavy with midges that they were sagging. It was utterly pathetic.

  • The one time you don't think to invite yourself to your father-in-law's fishing trip you will catch nothing but a hard time, while he likely caught a cooler full of 2-3 pound bass. Again.

I don't even WANT to know what he caught while, no doubt, standing on the shore fishing under, of all things, houseboats. I'm certain he's got several beautiful fillets in the freezer right now. Barstard.

Next time I'll know better. Next time I will bring a flamethrower for the mosquitoes, three coffins for the kiddies, a dozen extra reels so I can just toss the entire rig in the lake at the slightest sign of trouble, and I will refuse to throw ANY lure that's got ANY sentimental value at all.

I've learned. Sure I have.

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