Tomato Juice

Yesterday I was out of my comfort zone. I got skunked. I love the experience gained from fishing new waters and meeting new people. However, a part of me is bothered when I'm skunked. Whether the cause of said skunk is fishery or fisherman, it hurts a little. To get the skunk off of me, I visit my home reservoir. I've spent countless hours learning every inch of the water and features beneath. This is my homefield advantage, my comfort zone, my place of peace. I don't get skunked here. On the contrary, this place gets the skunk off of me. It is my tomato juice. On this beautiful (finally) morning in Western Wisconsin, I launched at sunrise. The reservoir was all mine. The water like glass, the skies clearing, and the panfish feasting on the bugs now emerging from the cold. The sight of my FeelFree Lure awaiting to carry me into these perfect conditions made me smile. With the calm conditions, I took a moment to use my new Garmin Striker 4DV to get a better view of some structures my previous finder had a hard time identifying. Though normally productive, these scouting locations aren't productive until the water temperature is a bit higher and bass fishing is in full swing. As I looked at these structures, I yearned for my football jig and Havoc PitBoss trailer.... I quickly shake it off and paddle towards my favorite panfish crib since bass season is closed in Wisconsin on this perfect morning.

The weather is so calm, I'm able to float without anchor. I'm marking schools of fish everywhere. Though the bite is slower than usual, I'm able to quickly able to redeem myself with a Panfish Plastics Chigger Fry on my ultralight. Finally, my first open water fish of 2016. My first fish landed in my FeelFree Lure.

While focusing on my sonar for the next school I'm targeting, I took a moment to appreciate the outdoors. I'm in a fishing kayak designed for fishing, stability, utility, and comfort. Most importantly, it is simple. I'm not messing with a trolling motor tilt, battery, plugs, etc. I'm sitting comfortably close to the water on a picture-perfect Sunday morning after a grueling Wisconsin spring. I notice a beaver family silently swimming through the water working on building me a new fishing structure.

I also witness one of our local bald eagles circling close looking for his next meal. I'm able to watch him approach the shallows and scoop up a fish with a precise dive into the water. Shortly after he disappears into the trees I hear him call out, announcing his bounty.

I slowly turn back to the task at hand. Proving my worth as a fisherman. I continue to work the panfish cribs where the Panfish Plastics Chigger Fry continues to produce, as per usual. My trip is a success.

Whether fishing or navigating life in general, everyone needs a tomato juice to normalize them after a trying situation. It helps make you whole again, regain your confidence, and make you feel at home. Life is insane. Your tomato juice washes the skunk off and brings you sanity. What, where, or who is your tomato juice?


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