Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Team Effort

I took a day off work so my wife and I could go canoeing up in this mountain lake. I took along a spinning rod and a small amount of tackle, but I didn't have plans to fish properly -- to work structure diligently, to key in on certain areas. I just figured as long as I was on the water, I might as well fling some lures about. The lake is supposed to have brookies, rainbows, largemouths, catfish, and bluegill in it, so I took some general stuff and figured something would hit.

No luck early on, so I tied on one of my favorite crankbaits, a little blue-and-silver job that has teeth marks all over it from Pennsylvania pike. Still no luck, so I suggested to Nicole that we try a little trolling. She could row as fast as she could, and I'd let out about 30 or 40 feet of line and drag the crankbait behind us. I didn't feel very optimistic as I'd never done this from a canoe, but we set off across the lake. When the lure reached the middle of the lake, I felt a hit, and we slammed on the brakes. Or, rather, we coasted, then spun a funny way, and the bass politely hung on.

Fishing from a canoe is a fun way to go about it. It's not easy, but when you're bringing in a fish, you feel as if you're at eye level with it. Nicole was thrilled to see the fair-sized bass coming up. I boated him and turned him loose, and we resumed cruising about the lake. We didn't have a single hit the rest of the day, but I didn't care that much.

I hadn't ever caught a fish that had been so much a team effort. The closest I can remember is working the trolling motor while a friend threw bait against a bank in a bass tournament. The weather was lousy, and the fish only wanted to hit if we were moving the right speed at the right angle. The fish we took that day (none big enough to enter in the tournament) felt like a team effort, but the catching wasn't nearly as fun as this one fish, taken high in the mountains with my wife as captain. I think she's hooked, and I couldn't imagine a better way to spend the day.

Unless I had used a little more sunscreen on my knees...

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