Ahem, is this thing on? I know readers have given this place up for dead, but I’ve never had any doubts. The muse left me for a while is all. Furthermore, no one sent me any cash nor gifts as encouragement to blog. The blame (if there is any) must be shared, is all I’m saying. I won’t make any promises, but I predict a rebirth of the kind of lackluster performance this place was once known for, and that this increased level of “activity” will sputter fitfully along for the indefinite future. There.
The muse, the pure, earnest, fly fishing muse, was driven away by A. lack of fly fishing, and B. gross, defiling, activities on my part. What I did quite a bit of in late 2012 was jug for catfish. I admit this because I’m honest, and to convince you, refined and gentle reader, that you should be happy I wasn’t blogging during this time. If fishing, generally, is sex, then jugging for catfish is necrophilia. I told friends about it and they found it hilarious until they realized I wasn’t joking. So jug fishing (fishing with fairly elaborate pool noodle “jugs”, on my part), is not cool, just as I suspected, and that’s fine. It’s fun, though. If nothing else, I had the following novel experiences: 1. I caught the biggest blue catfish I have ever caught, which was not very big at all, and 2. I got the drunkest I have ever been alone (which is another honest admission and almost certainly a cause for serious introspection at my time in life).
Also I moved to a new place, a place with an ocean. This is a major change of venue. I’ve never lived “permanently” at a place with an ocean. The new household leaves a few things to be desired, but it does have access to the water. It’s no fishing Mecca, the region I can practically access from my backyard, but it’s big, real saltwater. I’m still a little shocked by this. Theoretically, I can paddle from my yard to the open ocean in one day. My few forays into the home waters have been unproductive, fish-wise, perfectly meeting my expectations. I’ll be figuring things out in the coming months.
I been carpin’ and carpin’s been good. After the carp opener I usually go balls-to for the “big” fish flats. But thanks to an exponentially-growing furor about local carp, I just can’t get up the interest to fight the crowds over there anymore. (So shut up everybody, for chrisakes, and forget about carp. You’ve proved your point and had your fun. You have your stories to tell the grandkids about your wild slumming days in the mud. Now it’s time to put this little phase behind you. Genuinely trashy anglers are being put out of work here. Ha ha, just kidding of course. How ironic would it be for me to complain about all the sudden pressure on my once oh-so-abandoned flats, when I’m at least partially to blame for hyping the local carp scene? Ha ha. But seriously, trout are so nice.) Being forced to the sidelines, though, has been good for me. Water levels have been perfect in the secondary locations and I’ve been catching the kind of numbers that make me feel like John Montana. Alas, these are small fish, but life, for our own good, can’t be perfect. (That’s a wise little life lesson and you should write it down.)
I’ve been accosted by reptiles, and I like that. I watched a big snapping turtle ease across the flats at me one afternoon, and we shared a vigorous work-out which ended with me dragging him carefully to the bank by the back legs. (Never lift a big turtle by the tail). He was a brute, battle-scarred and vicious, possessed of a single protuberant eye and dozens of leeches. I say “he” because I like to think he gained his scars in the bloody territorial disputes that males are known for.
timber rattler: ID by Brayshaw, T.
I caught my first mirror carp. I’m embarrassed to admit that in years of carping, this was my first. It was followed on that same day by my second and third. From the online literature, I have learned that this June is the month of the mirror carp. Therefore I shouldn’t be surprised. But three in a day, at a location that has never yielded one before, made me giddy. They were identically-sized, suggesting that a cohort originating a few years past had a rich mix of the good German genes causing mirrorism.
I’ve continued on with the lowbrow beer, and that has eased my uneasiness about the level of snobbery that has crept into my drinking.
The longest days are here, and a summer of carp is yawning wide open.
It’s carp time. For me I mean. Everyone else has been catching carp for months. Therefore, to make my own efforts stand out, I titled my post with an edgy alternative spelling. Unique, huh? See, I can’t do carping until the striper thing has run its pathetic course. Spring striper fishing is hard, addictive work. During striper time I maintain a stern demeanor, buy expensive beer, scream with manic triumph, and shed countless bitter tears. I wade through rushing rapids and carry the boat up steep escarpments in the dark, cursing. But at some point, when my tender feelings have been hurt almost beyond recovery, it happens. I’ll be on the verge of yet another heart-rending striper trip and I’ll say (to myself, not in front of the kids) “fuck this”. Then I’ll know that the frantic, orgasmic period has ended and a gentler, cuddly era approaches. I’ll buy cheap beer and leave the house with laughter on my lips. Ahh, carp.
Yeah, I love carp season. Without carp, I could hardly refer to myself as lowbrow. Early spring is the focal point of the angling year, but late spring through autumn is the meat of it. The season opener was good this year and I found little fish all over the place in post-coital starvation mode. I got out again for a late afternoon quickie and suffered an embarrassing blank. But, what the hell, I’ve got months of this ahead of me.
My typical approach to introducing a blog post is to apologize for the long delay and follow with lame excuses and empty promises. This is not required of April. Almost every kind of good fishing thing can happen in April, and serious anglers should be out fishing . Spare moments off the water should be devoted to work (or “work”), sleep, bathing the children, and the myriad other little niggling details that get in the way of proper spring fishing. Of course, this year April came in February and March. That caught me by surprise and by the time I cottoned on, much was lost. But I did my best to give the month its proper due.
April stripers were not quite a bust, but were sub-standard. A few were had, though.
Walleye were oddly consistent, of all things, and I was able to catch a couple on every trip. No real sport should have much praise for walleye as a recreational quarry. Fortunately, I eat them every one, so I’m happy.
We observed the spring trout camping ritual with full trappings. We got drunk in the woods and caught a few small trout. That’s all it is really, but it must be done.
Mike took me to a secret striper spot and caught a big fish. I caught a big turtle.
April is out of the way, and hopefully we can all relax.