Walter Scott's Outdoors: An early morning outing to beat the heat

Temperatures near 100 mean it's best to do the outdoor work in the morning — and also go fishing. It is not good for a person to go too many days without fishing.

Columnist Walter Scott
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When the temperature has been near 100 degrees for several days and promises to stay that way for several more, it is wise to get the outside things done early in the morning.

I have found there are not too many things that must be done outside when the temperature is that hot. One exception is fishing. It is not good for a person to go too many days without fishing.

It was 82 already at 6 a.m. Saturday. I thought it best to get out and get my fishing done before it got any warmer.

I grabbed a minimal amount of tackle and headed to the lake with Jag, the terrier. He enjoys hunting along the bank as well as helping me in the boat.

Billie, the poodle, had to stay behind. Two dogs in a boat is too much. This is especially true when they are feeling fine on a sunny morning. It is hard to concentrate on the task at hand with two dogs wrestling in one’s boat.


Jag jumped into the boat when I loaded the fishing rod and tackle box. He wanted to go boating rather than hunting this morning.

The water was like a sheet of glass as we motored away from the dock, past the weed bed surrounding the lake. Jag stood on the bow, watching intently. I am not sure if he was watching for ice bergs or alligators, but he must have done a good job as we did not have any problems with either.

I snapped a small orange plastic grub to my line, hoping to chance into a school of crappie out in open water. I ran it fairly deep, knowing the first foot or two of water would be warm.

I was not able to find the crappie but did catch a couple of nice bluegill. I thought about keeping them for a lunch of fried fish, but I would rather eat crappie.

I trolled near shore and cast toward the weed bed. On the first cast there, I reeled in about five pounds of weeds.

I switched to a surface lure after that. I was not going to spend more time getting weeds off my hook than fishing.

A red and white hula popper has been my longtime favorite. I cast parallel to the shore and retrieved it with short jerks. This causes the lure to pop as it makes a small splash, mimicking a feeding fish.

Aggressive bass are drawn to the sound, hoping to either eat the feeding fish or whatever they were feeding on. After several casts, I finally got a hit. A nice little bass, about two pounds, came out the water and smacked the lure.


Jag, who had been losing interest in fishing, was suddenly on full alert. He was all over the boat watching me reel in the fish and tried to grab it for me when I brought it into the boat. I was able to keep the dog away long enough to get the fish back into the water.

Fishing slowed down and I decided to move to the end of the island. A narrow channel runs between the weed beds that border the shore and the island.

I cast into the opening and my lure was immediately attacked. A big old bass smacked the lure with a tremendous splash. Jag knew we had something good so being the helpful little dog he is, he jumped into the water to catch my fish for me.

The fish made a run under the boat and Jag lost sight of it. Much to my relief, he swam to the island so I could land my fish without assistance.

The bass was able to turn my boat around as it headed for open water. After a good fight, I was able to boat the big bass. I estimated it to be close to five pounds as I released back to catch again.

Deciding to quit on a high note, I headed back toward the dock. Jag spent a bit longer hunting on the island and swam to the nearest shore. He ran around the edge of the lake, getting to the dock just as I landed. We were both satisfied with the results of our early morning outing.


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

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