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No choices when it comes to fishing

Everyday we have to make choices. We only hope, most of the time we make the right ones. We learn from decisions we make, whether they are right or wrong.

Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I were faced with a major choice. A cold front was moving in and it was going to start raining at about the time it got dark. This created a dilemma as the garden needed to be tilled. If we did not do it then, the rain would prevent our tilling later.

A cold front and approaching rain storm also causes the fish to go on a feeding frenzy. We had two or three hours that could possibly be the best fishing we have seen in weeks.

After serious consideration and weighing our options, we made our choice. The weeds will still be in the garden the next time we decide to till if we went fishing, but a fishing opportunity would be forever lost if we stayed home and did our work. The choice was obvious. We needed to go fishing.

We jumped in the truck and headed for the lake. As we loaded rods, cooler and ourselves into the boat, a cloud bank could be seen forming in the distance. When the front came closer, the barometric pressure would change and the fish would go crazy. My wife and I both put on the big, bass-attracting lures. This is the time of year big old bass will hide under a log or at the edge of the weed bed ready to ambush anything smaller than themselves.

The lures we were using resemble a music CD with fringe. In the past, I have seen some huge bass go crazy for these things.

This was not the evening they found them so attractive. We switched to more conventional lures such as a Hula Popper and a plastic frog. Neither of these seemed to do it either. About the same time, my wife and I both decided to fish for crappie. If the bass were not feeding, surely the crappy were.

After changing lures to smaller, more realistic looking pieces of plastic, we moved to the heavy brush where the crappie hide. On approximately every other cast, I managed to snag a nice log or underwater branch. I was about ready to move the boat to open water when I caught a bass on my crappy lure. After close to an hour of fishing without so much as a bite, our faith was once again restored in the belief all the fish in 26 acres had not migrated to another pond in our one week absence. If there was one hungry fish, there had to be a bunch more. Fishing continued in earnest.

Nothing happened for about an hour. My wife and I were both ready to concede I had caught the last fish in the lake. We trolled the deep water and the shallows around the island. We fished the backwaters and back toward the dock. I finally suggested we just forget it and go for a boat ride.

We motored the length of the lake, watching an occasional deer come down from the timber for a drink. As we came around a bend, we spooked a snowy egret as it hunted frogs near the edge of the weed bed.

Darkness was setting in and thunderclouds were building when we turned toward the dock. The battery on the boat was almost dead as we made the last few hundred yards to shore. The air was cool and the wind was calm as the night birds called out while they started their evening hunt. We docked just before the battery died completely and the rain hit.

Even though we only caught one fish, we knew we had made the right choice. A person can work anytime, but a better choice is to enjoy a perfect a day when it is available.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.