Fishing ushers in start of summer
hen the snow goes away and the grass turns green in the spring, it is surprising what one finds.
Last weekend was great to be outside and the outside needed several things done to it. Several sticks needed to be picked up. The ones blown out of the trees after the ice storm were scattered about as were pieces of firewood Duke hauled off to play with and forgot where he put them.
The thing that needed the most attention was the grass. Some places had barely begun to grow while other places had clumps of bright green grass almost six inches high. I think that has something to do with having three large dogs. By noon Sunday, the yard no longer looked like an abandoned farmstead so we decided to go fishing.
My wife and I headed to the farm for the first fishing trip of the season. We pulled up to the lake about the same time Damon and the grandsons came down the hill. They had also had enough yard work and needed a quick fishing break. Everybody grabbed their tackle and ran down the hill, the boys arguing about which boat was going to carry which people. They finally decided Zane and Nanna would take the paddle boat and Damon, Trevor, and I would bravely venture out in the canoe. Paddle boats are not fast, nor quiet enough to sneak up on the fish, but they are stable. A canoe, with two people paddling is fast, quiet, and can flip over at any second. I speak from experience.
The paddle boat was still thump, thump, thumping away from the dock when I caught my first fish out by the old cottonwood tree. I took off the nice crappie and handed it back to Trevor, who was sitting on the live well. He had to stand up, open the lid and put the fish in while Damon did his best to keep us upright. Trevor had just sat down when I caught another. The process was repeated while Damon steadied the canoe from the back. When I caught the third crappie, neither Damon nor Trevor had gotten a line wet. They were beginning to lose patience with taking care of my fish while all they got to do was watch. Damon suggested I take care of my own fish and forget the live well.
As I think back on it, it may have been more than a suggestion. With everyone in place, a total of five lines in the water, I was still the only one pulling in one fish after another. I was using a chartreuse grub on a medium-sized lead-headed hook. I had the most luck with putting out about four feet of line and jigging it up and down between the branches of the submerged trees.
One by one, everyone in both boats switched over to chartreuse grubs from whatever they were using. The fishing was fast and furious for close to an hour. By the time we decided to call it an afternoon, everyone had caught a bunch of crappie, a bass or two, and we had a couple of bluegills to add to the mix.
Damon and I started cleaning fish with the help of Zane and Trevor. It did not take too many fish before they got bored with the whole procedure. Catching is a lot more fun than cleaning. We worked our way through two buckets of fish and were down to the last three before I stabbed myself with the fillet knife. Getting the bleeding stopped took long enough that I did not have to clean the last three.
Summer has officially started. We have enough fillets for a fish fry at the cabin. We can catch more, or not. It really does not matter now. We have a start on the season.
Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.