Fishing With Dogs
Blog by: Lloyd Tackitt 6/6/2018
Because I walk only a short distance from my door to the water, and because I have two large outside dogs, I am always fishing with dogs around. My dogs love to play in the river and any excuse will get them in it. Actually they don't need an excuse, they play in the river a lot on their own, but they still love an excuse for more of it.
I keep my fishing pole on the porch. When I walk outside if I don't pick the pole up, they don't follow me around. They know I'll be in the yard in sight somewhere. But the second I pick up that rod? They go on full alert, jump up, and start dancing with anticipation.
There are two directions I can walk to get to different fishing spots. These dogs watch to see which way I'm going to go, then they take off ahead of me. As I walk they will be fifty to a hundred yards ahead, doing dog things. Smelling everything, rolling around on dead things, investigating anything that moves, disappearing into the brush and later reappearing somewhere else.
When I get to my fishing spot they come over to me and check in. They will swim out to me, as I am usually waist deep in the river, touch me and then take off again. Now they investigate the world around me in a big circle, usually staying within a hundred yards or less.
Once they have checked the area out thoroughly they'll take another swim then lay down in a shady spot somewhere and sleep. Except for Boo, the black Lab.
Boo has to chase things, it is in his DNA. He can't not chase something that moves. I can pick up a rock from the bottom of the river, rub it to get my smell on it, then throw it as far as I can into the river. Boo, as soon as he sees that I'm about to throw something, will get into a crouched stance with the most fiercely focused expression you can imagine. He is watching my hand.
I throw the rock and he is off after it, watching for the splash. He will find the exact rock, sticking his head underwater and somehow smelling it out, and then...go off and chew on it for a while. I've not spent any time training this dog so he doesn't "fetch" unless he wants me to throw it again.
I mention all of this because when I catch a fish and put it back, Boo thinks I've thrown something for him to retrieve. He doesn't know that the fish swims away. Boo keeps looking for it where I put it back, which is right in front of me. He will stand there for hours, looking, sticking his head underwater, coming up for air, looking at me with questioning eyes, then sticking his head back under water.
At this point I have two choices, continue to cast with him right in front of me, or move over a few yards. He'll remain in that position until I catch and release another fish. If I move he stays where he was until I release another fish, then he thinks I've somehow tricked him and found whatever it was that I put in the water even though he was watching me, and he moves in front of me and it starts over again.
Jake is the other dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback that someone dropped off one night. He has a bad right hind leg, it's stiff. He is pretty much a three legged dog. Only putting that leg down for balance now and then but walking and running on the other three only. He has no interest in chasing anything that isn't alive and something he can kill - like raccoons and possums, and unfortunately also skunks. Because Boo chases anything that moves that means the two of them go together.
Jake is an old dog now, not sure how old since he was full grown when he arrived, but old, you can just tell these things. If I had to guess I'd say he was a solid ten human years old. He will settle down in the shade and sleep until I go home, then he gets up, stretches out slowly and thoroughly, before catching up to me and passing me by. He and Boo both go straight home from there, not much investigating on the return trip. I think they must get homesick and want to get back to their recliners - so to speak.
Once in a very great while I'll go fishing when they are off the premises roaming around. Then I get to fish without them, without Boo standing in front of me (big dog,a good solid eighty pounds of three year old muscle). When that happens I am truthfully sorry, as I enjoy their company.
I've been fishing with dogs for so many years that it feels strange as hell when they aren't somewhere around. It is one of the better things about living out here, having outside dogs that love to go fishing.
Coyute, CO 6/6/2018 9:13:41 AM
Fishing stories involving dogs are some of my favorite. Any good story involving dogs really. Great story Lloyd!
Hawaiian Punch, CO 6/6/2018 4:33:01 PM
My fishing buddy has a new Shepard and we take him along in the boat. Giger(the dog) has started to take an interests in the fish we catch. When ever we grab a rod and stand up to fight a fish,Giger jumps up from the front of the boat and comes to the back of the boat to watch over us.When we catch a undersize fish and toss it back in the water,Giger barks at us.Its too funny.
Abel1, CO 6/6/2018 6:42:56 PM
Lloyd. When you look in the mirror can you see yourself? The place you describe is a lot like the place I'm hoping for when my time here is over. I picked up a Siberian Huskie puppy last year and would like to get her trained as well as the last mix I had. Going to be lifetime project it looks like. If I like her to carry my lunch and tackle accessories but if she ever got off leash I'd never see any of them again. Great read. Dogs really are man's best friend.
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX 6/7/2018 6:29:28 AM
Abel1 - I'm not quite following your question about looking in the mirror? Dogs are an important part of my life, pretty much always have been, likely to always be. They are good company.
Abel1, CO 6/7/2018 7:20:52 AM
Sorry Lloyd. I was just wondering if you could see your reflection in the mirror because it sounds like you died and went to heaven.
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX 6/7/2018 8:51:12 AM
Now that's funny! Where I live is paradise, but paradise with a lot of copperheads, water moccasins and spiders as big as my hand. I love the place but walk carefully. Outside dogs are a necessity, they run off the four legged critters and keep me apprised of the approach of two legged critters. It's a bird watchers delight too, we even have the occasional Bald Eagle. There are always Herons and Egrets to watch, and Kingfishers, Cormorants, Ducks, and all manner of song birds. And the fishing is pretty darn decent.