An Evening's Catch (with pictures)
Blog by: Lloyd Tackitt 9/27/2018
I was just off work and decided I had time to fish. Couple of hours of sunlight left. It didn't look like a good day for catching fish, what with the norther that had blown through hours earlier, but it was cool out and it's been a long summer and cool felt good.
Overcast with a steady wind out of the north, kind of gray overall. But cool. Must have been down in the lower 70's kind of cool. Hell, it might have been 69 for all I know. Felt good. I had a box of worms in the refrigerator so I grabbed them and headed down river to the Guinea Hole. I named it that many many years ago because when I was down there I heard Guinea hens back in the woods somewhere making that distinct sound a flock of Guinea hens make. They are still there, cackling away. Must be the great great great great....grandchildren of the first ones I heard.
I put a worm on. My standard way of hooking a worm for this hole is to pierce it three times near the head end so that the majority of the worm dangles down below the hook. I use a real tiny bobber, whats called a "strike indicator" but it is a bobber in reality. The river is low so I fished the worm about 18 inches below the bobber. I want it to dangle in the water, not drag the bottom. That's a good way too, but not for this hole, this hole the fish like it dangling. The hole up river they like it on the bottom. Or maybe it's just me and my crazy notions.
I fish with a 5 wt fly rod. My grandmother (the greatest fisherman that ever lived) fished with a fly rod, a bobber and live bait. I've come full circle and realized that she had the right idea. So I guess it's a family tradition of some kind now.
The wind was chopping the water - a great thing. That keeps the fish from seeing me and it gives the bobber an up and down action which makes the worm jiggle. All good stuff. The first bite came on my third cast and the bite was a hard vicious take. I set the hook and felt the impact all the way up to my shoulders, a good hunk of fish on there. It only took a few moments to realize it was a catfish, the way they fight is distinctive enough - but this one came up to the surface and rolled and thrashed around for a bit.
A few weeks back I began an experiment by putting a barrel swivel between my furled leader and my 20 pound tippet. It's a great thing for catching catfish because they twist and roll around like an alligator does. It was working nicely, I could tell the difference.
It was a good fight, the fish was fair size, was strong, and had a lot of endurance. The next fish was also a cat, bigger. About 30 inches. It put up a grand fight that lasted quite a while. The next fish I caught was a pretty big drum - well,,,pretty big for what I usually catch. It may be a personal best in drum, or at least close to it.
The fourth and last fish was a small bass, about 2 pounds maybe - no picture as it wasn't big enough for that.
And after that bass, nothing, not a nibble of any kind. The bite had shut down. I was surprised to catch anything at all after a front like that, so no complaints from me.
Boo, as usual, was trying to catch the fish as I released them. Whenever I caught one he would run out and follow it in as I retrieved it, with his head basically hovering right over the fish. He watched them closely, very very closely, but didn't try to capture them. Somehow - and I've not trained him for this - he knows that while they are on the hook they are mine and to leave them alone, although he crowds in close to them.
As soon as I took them off the hook and tossed them back in the water he pounced. He's never come close to catching one, until the drum. The drum swam into shallower water instead of deeper and Boo cornered him against a rock. He had a big paw on each side of it and his chest was blocking the drum from retreating. The drum's back was half out of the water. Now Boo finally had his chance - and he didn't know what to do with it. He kind of nipped towards it a couple of times, half-hearted little nips that came nowhere close to the fish. The drum made a big surge and got off into deeper water and Boo went back to looking for it. It was hilarious - he wanted to play with the fish, not catch it. He wanted it to play with him the way another dog would. Funny as hell. Boo is a trip.
While Boo was looking for the first catfish that I had released, he was about 30 feet away from me, I had a bite and set the hook, but missed. Boo came charging over - I realized then that he always has an eye on me and knows the action of setting the hook and what it means. He's no dummy, that's a fact.
He gave me the same look I've seen bird dogs give a hunter when the hunter misses a bird the dog had pointed and flushed for him. A look of disgusted disappointment. Boo looked at me like that when I missed that fish. Strange dog, but a cool dog, tons of personality.
Below are pictures of the two cats and the drum - all put up muscular fights and were a treat to catch.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that a large Osprey (Fish Hawk we call them) hit the water about 50' away and came up with a bass about two pounds and flew off. Amazing to watch it that close, very cool stuff. I saw another one way way down the river hit the water and it splashed up a good 6 feet high - but it was too far away to make out if it got the fish or not.