Sunday, June 5, 2016

Just Fishin'

This morning, after a long day of beachin' yesterday, I was able to hit the water with my dad.  He took his kayak and I mine.  My dad is the one who taught me how to fish at a young age, so I enjoy fishing with him when we get the chance.

We tactically decide to launch in the Yellow River, before it pours into Castle Rock Lake in Wisconsin.  This area of the river is wide and shallow with a lot of various vegetation.  Perfect for froggin'.

Arriving at the launch, the wind is blowing hard.  This river and Castle Rock Lake are typically a rust color from the sandstone and pine trees, but this is much darker than usual.  The water looks like chocolate milk, with about 2 inches of visibility thanks to the recent heavy rains.  Optimistic, I drop the seat on my FeelFree Lure to keep a low profile as we head across the river to a bay blocked from the wind.

Getting some harbor from the wind, we begin working the lily pads, grass, and underwater weed beds.  The area is promising, my dad noting swirls and other activity nearby.  With no success, we divide and conquer, another benefit of kayak fishing. We work separate bays and separate sides of the bay hoping to find the fish sooner.

While working a bay, I toss my Lunkerhunt frog into a brush pile near a patch of grass.  The Lunkerhunt allows me to fish at various speeds, cover more water, and use more techniques with the floppy legs.  To cover more water, I'm slow-rolling the frog.  The technique and placement proves successful as I see a topwater blowup as my frog disappears.  I set the hook hard but it doesn't set.  The frog comes launching back towards me as if the fish spat it at me with superfish force (check it out on video here).  After unsuccessfully coaxing this, or other fish, I move to the next bay with my dad.

We continue dissecting the waters when I encounter a shallow bay with a tiny island, about 5 feet in diameter.  Though the water is shallow, I see activity as a fish darts away from the island deeper into the bay.  Sightfishing, I try to spot something to target.  The water is slightly clearer in this bay so my hopes are high.  A fish was hiding in the thick vegetation.  I was moving so stealthily, it did not swim away until I hit it with my kayak.

About to give up for the day, something happens.  Perhaps it was the fishing gods, perhaps a large fish turning my kayak in hopes to rid an area of a bass, or the wind blowing into my poles and net on the back of my kayak.  The nose of my kayak turns towards the shallow bay ever so slightly.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see the water boiling under a tree casting shade into the water.  Keeping my excitement contained, I set a course for the tree.

I toss my Lunkerhunt frog near the brush, but missed the mark.  Nothing.  Next toss is dead-on.  I use the wobbling action of my one-legged frog (yes they still work with one leg) and slow-roll it through the shade.  I keep my tip up to mitigate a premature hookset.  The water boils and flows up like a firecracker just went off under my frog.  Fish on!

I pull it in.  It isn't terribly fat, but was fun.  I quickly pull out my hawg trough and adjust my Tourney Tag so I can snap a picture to get on the board for the Kayak Bass Fishing North Central Great Lakes June tournament.  I quickly submit my catch via the TourneyX site (I love their quick, easy-to-use real-time tournament platform).

Check out the video here showing my previously mentioned miss, this catch, and easy use of TourneyTag.

Shortly after, my dad returns reporting no success.  Since the home-bosses are back at the house taking care of the kids, we decided to call it a day.  The conditions are not ideal for fishing, but we had fun and didn't get skunked.

My dad recently told me about the Trace Adkins song "Just Fishin'" because it reminded him of my daughter and I.  If you haven't heard the song, it is about a father fishing with his daughter.  She is telling him stories, etc. and thinks they are "Just Fishin'" when in actuality they are doing so much more.  They are spending quality time together, disconnected from the rest of the world.  It was like that fishing with my dad today.  Conditions were poor, all we got is one dink, but I was "Just Fishin'" with the guy who taught me how to fish.




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