Thursday, February 23, 2012

2012: The Year of the Skunk?

The pond

It was recently brought to my attention I haven't been blogging much lately... It's not that I haven't been fishing, or cooking (I finally made a roux!), or making music (working on a dub album right now)... Or playing video games! (Minecraft is a seriously amazing game.) But for some reason, it hasn't seemed like any of these specific activities warranted a full blog post. Since this is primarily a fishing blog, I suppose I'd be remiss if I didn't share my most recent fishing adventures.

Of course, I use that term very lightly. My fishing lately has been less adventure and more casting practice.

Since January 1, I've gotten out on the water about 15 times (might be higher, I haven't been keeping track). So far this year I've hit up Salt Creek a bunch of times, Busse (yes, I'm a glutton for punishment), Belmont Harbor, Diversey Harbor; and once the ice went away, my local honey-hole retention pond.

My first few outings were difficult, to say the least. Every other cast I would tangle my line. I felt like the total noob fisherman I was a year ago. Not that I'm not still a noob, but in October I could handle a fishing rod pretty well. So far this year I'm definitely out of practice, and it shows!

Every few days I get the urge to wet a line, and head out with the hopes of landing even a single fish. Even a tiny fish would be nice, just a fish. On some of the nice weekends we've been having (winter? what winter?) I've spent a good portion of my Saturdays and Sundays standing on a bank somewhere, casting like a madman. And yet, so far, I have only caught the SKUNK! (With the exception of an outing in early January, where I landed a few TINY sunfish and a shiner.)

It's been great to see familiar landscapes changed by the seasons. Until last year, I didn't really go outdoors too much. It was mostly moving from one indoors to another indoors- just this place I have to go in between being inside. Anything I saw outside was just a backdrop to my trip. Since I've been obsessed with fishing (and of course kayaking) the outdoors is pretty much where I want to be as much as possible. It's not that I want to date Mother Nature or anything, or go chain myself to trees about to be cut down; I just really like being outside. I love seeing animals (particularly fish on the end of my line, but herons and deer will suffice), I like the infinite nature of being outside (the ceiling is very very high), and I like what it sounds like when there's nothing but nature for a few hundred yards.

Belmont Harbor
Standing on the bank of a body of water there aren't really reverb reflections, and often the only sound is the sound of moving water. Or loud, obnoxious geese. (By the way, when a hundred squawking, pooping, splashing geese descend from the sky on my pond, destroying the wonderful water-soundscape and possibly scaring all the already skiddish fish, I have an incredibly strong urge to take up goose hunting. How can they be so loud, and poop so much? Why don't they migrate somewhere already?? Would it be strange to bring a shotgun when I go pond fishing?)

The lower water levels have given me some insight into what's really beneath the surface of the water- certain fishing spots I frequent have been giving up some secrets lately. I can better see the structure, where there should be some fish hiding. Come spring, I hope to take advantage of that valuable information.

In all my time spent inside this winter, I've been planning my 2012 fishing season. Last year my life's mission was to catch a smallmouth bass- and I finally did in September on the amazing Fox River. This year, I want to expand my species list and land a walleye and a pike. Just one of each, that would do it for me! My internet history is bulging at the seams with google searches like "walleye lures" "walleye techniques" "early spring pike" s"why are walleye so elusive?" "salt creek muskie" and things like that.

Salt Creek
This has been a strange "winter"- I thought I might get to experience ice fishing, but so far there hasn't been too much ice. I never thought I'd get to fish open water in January or February, but I have- not much to show for it though. My dreams are filled with long paddles in the kayak, catching bass after bass, using my (not yet purchased) fish finder to locate and slay pure hogs; hopping into my waders and spending as much time as possible up to my waist in river water... I've been seriously contemplating taking my yak out to the pond; however my always reasonable wife convinced me that would be ridiculous. Perhaps...

Bottom line: can't wait for spring, can't wait for the fish to start biting again, can't wait for all this indoors stuff to be done with.

PS: Walleyes and pikes: I'm coming for you!