Thursday, July 5, 2018

Better Week at the Big Lake

Laurie Murphy:

Lots of  fish made their way to the scale this past week. We have Jim Welsh with a 2 lb 5 oz Smallmouth, along with several walleye in the 3 lb range and lots of perch and crappie. Jerry Freeman landed a 4 lb 4 oz pickerel, along with Jake Bozik with a 3 lb 10 oz pickerel and several rock bass weighing 1 lb. Lou Marcucci, fishing with herring,  had himself a 4 lb 7 oz Smallmouth along with a 3l Largemouth weighing 3 lb 9 oz.  Bryan Dunn’s Largemouth weighed in at 5 lb 2 oz and Hunter Good’s Hybrid Striped Bass was 7 lb 7 oz.  The Knee Deep Club's Hybrid Striped Bass contest takes place on Sat, July 14th, starting at 5 AM to Noon on Sun, July 15th.  Cash prizes will be awarded for the three heaviest Hybrids weighed in and $20 gift certificates will go to 4th, 5th and 6th places. We will be open early at 5 AM on Sat for bait and boat rentals for the contest.  Entries can be taken up to 8 AM on Saturday, the day of the contest. Have a great week...

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Let a Rod Bend, not Me

Hooked about 25 feet deep during the heat of the day. What was it, a hundred out there? Quarter-ounce, think it was, bullet sinker. Teeth got the worm.

The important thing to remember is that an outing always ends well, so long as you're earnest. Before I set my alarm to get up the next morning and pack out with my son, I had spent some three hours or more in preparation, including my attempt at fixing the tip of my new Lew's Speed Stick, off center. I blew it, as I feared I might. The aluminum oxide ring broke, but I borrowed a rod I gave Matt long ago, seven feet and huskier than my St. Croix for wrestling bass from weeds. The rod now in need of repair wasn't close to a quarter of the cause of the black mood, and I won't bore you with further details, but after I was up in the morning and arranging stuff out the door, I knew the ill feeling wasn't going away easily.

The ride up to Tilcon was very rough. Not the road, except that last unpaved road with foot-deep potholes. The cauldron of turmoil. A sensible man might have given up, but time and again I find myself disclaiming sensibility in my writing...except I knew full and well that given a couple of hours on the water, I would at least begin to be OK. And before outing's end, I would be fully well. If I were to have given up knowing this, the sin would have been blacker than anything I had yet felt.

Regarding other people who give up, they're entitled to the compromises they choose. I refuse to bend.

So I showed Matt what we had to do. He doubted we could do it. He's nineteen. Played football for years. I'm supposed to be an older man now, but every time I see myself photographed, I'm astonished, because I am much younger than that within. And this inner youthfulness manifests itself as some pretty strong physical capability, but I don't want to boast too much. Last visit at this lake really was treacherous with my three herniated disks. A popular phrase reads: Be careful what you wish for.

The path goes downhill fairly steep at first, cuts a hard right, evens out more and less, and then plummets down a vertical elevation of, I think, 30 feet at least, to lakeside. I told Matt we would take the canoe down first, and I refused to offer any more empathy for how he felt than to clearly acknowledge his feeling, and in turn, I encouraged our effort. I can't say it was very difficult to do, but Matt was afraid getting it back up might be...what? Too hard? I offered some words to the effect of an answer to his question, which he answered in turn, "We'll have to," and I gave him a wry smile. I knew it wouldn't be too hard.

The canoe only weighs a hundred pounds or so, and we've both backpacked. And so much for dollies after our last time here.

We were drenched with perspiration as we paddled beyond weeds before I lowered the electric motor. Air felt very heavy. Very. It felt big. My graph unit's thermometer was reading 92 degrees, after it came down from 98, though I don't know if it can read the air temp correctly. It stayed at 92, and I tested the water, which didn't feel that hot. When we left that quiet corner and got out in the breeze, the temp read 87 and stayed there. 

So we fished deep and thoroughly, sunlight intense. An hour or so into the trip, I caught a n 18 or 19-inch pickerel from about 25 feet down. When I noticed Matt had retied to fish his worm weightless, I had been thinking the same and retied my line, catching a pound-and-a-half bass on the first cast of my next arrangement. That pickerel was going to be the deepest catch of the day.

It was back at the flats where we left off last time that things began to get interesting, in terms of catches. The electric hadn't gotten much power to push us there. At first the battery gave full power (after I had charged it), so I know it's not a problem with the motor. I need a new battery. I caught a few bass in 10 and 12 feet of water, sun behind clouds for the most part, thunderstorms skirting us over the course of hours: east, west, north and south. Matt missed a couple of good hits back in the mess of weeds crowding the lake's surface, on a weedless frog. He began to fish with dogged persistence, switching his presentations out with fascination for each lure he tried.

I had just caught my fourth bass when I heard what sounded like the horn of my Honda. I'm always a little nervous far back in my mind on these outings, because vandalism and robbery can happen. "Just when the bite begins," I said, as we motored off our promising flats. I told Matt we wouldn't return, not with the lack of power from the battery. 

Nothing was amiss with my car, and a couple had just begun building a fire nearby by the water, waving to us in a friendly manner, me waving back.

We fished some of the back of the lake as sun was now very low, as it set, and as dusk got very deep. I caught a two-pounder, then I caught one about two-and-a-half pounds, both largemouths, the larger after Matt caught one two pounds or so on a topwater plug. A 3//8th-ounce Rebel Pop-R. "I wish for once you would catch one larger!" I said. Mine wasn't quite playing its resistance as another bass three pounds or better as we expect here, but as a pretty nice bass.

And there he was. Fishing like he would fish all night. I almost felt like staying on the water into complete darkness, which it was as we loaded the canoe on top of the Honda. That son of mine who had asked me if we could leave early, so he could go to some random field with friends and set off fireworks bought near Easton. The hell. 

"That wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be," he said after we hauled the canoe up the slopes. To me, it never felt but the slightest fraction as difficult as the black mood plaguing me as we arrived.

 I may look like an old man, but I can climb my way out of Tilcon quarry.

Matt seems to have fallen out of the canoe. Pardon him, Stephen's State Park.

Matt finally caught a bass, pretty nice, at sundown. Only bass on a topwater plug for us yet at Tilcon.