Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Semi-Perfect Day

A few weeks ago, I went out for what might be my last warmwater fishing outing of the year. I headed again to the lake, and I can't tell if I had a good trip or a disappointing one.

Here's the thing: this time of year, I don't expect to catch many fish. What I was hoping to get into was some really big bluegill. They fatten up this time of year, and some of my biggest sunfish have come in Octobers past. So I was only hoping to catch one or two fish, but of a quality sort. My day turned out a little differently.

I went to my favorite spot, and before long a massive 'gill hit just a few feet out from the bank. It easily would have been my biggest of the year, but (as my grammar gives away) the fish came off. I was fishing a tiny crankbait, and those little hooks are prone to pulling out.

No big deal, especially when a little while later, I started seeing bass strike at my lure. They wanted an exact angle and depth of retrieve, and when I could replicate that path, I'd get a strike. Finally a big one hit, maybe 15 inches. He didn't fight at all and I gave him a slow pump. Then he came up and didn't even shake his head, but just gave a real slow back-and-forth motion. The lure popped out.

I was a little disheartened, but I persisted in that spot until I was convinced that nothing else was going to hit. I moved to the spillway and finished the tiny pool between the lake and the creek. Remarkably, I started getting hits on nearly every cast. I took six or seven fish, including one little bass and one chub. The rest were typical undersized sunnies.

Now, had I known before arriving that I'd catch six or seven fish, I'd have been pleased with that prospect, but to have missed the two I was after was disappointing. While the brief flurry in the pool was fun, it also meant that all my catching over the course of a couple hours happened within a span of maybe 15 minutes. Had I been able to throw those first two fish that came off into the mix, I'd have called it a perfect outing, especially for October. Instead, I'm not sure how to feel.

The good thing, at least, is that catching the chub allowed me to figure out what the silver-flashing fish I had hooked and lost earlier in the spring were. I wouldn't have thought there were chubs in that lake, so I never considered it.

Okay, how I feel: I caught fish. That never feels bad. Let's take it at that and head into fly-tying season (minus cold-weather brookie fishing as soon as the spawn's over, of course).

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