You can probably tell by the big gaps in post that I haven't any outings ridiculously good, ridiculously bad, or just ridiculous lately (though I do have a few more reports to get up this year). Today, though, was a very strange one, and of course I managed to forget my camera when I could have used it a few times.
They stocked the "lakes" (and I use this term rather than "ponds" because that's technically the name) in an area park this week. I'd rather be somewhere more exciting, but you take what you can get, so I figured I'd head out for a couple hours in the rain this morning, and just throw some nightcrawlers to see if I can get into bass, panfish, or catfish, if the trout weren't biting.
I walked past the three people already fishing who probably had the energy to set their alarms last night (presumably not Red Sox or Angels fans). No luck, so I took the trail around the lake through a bit of woods. I came to a snake on the trail, who seemed to have no interest in moving for me. I thought at first that it was a black snake, but it had these bands around it, and a troublingly triangular head. Still, it was in my way, so I did what any thinking person would do: I poked it with my rod.
It didn't flinch. Was it dead. I tried to roll it over, at which point it raised its head and gave me a really dirty look. Given the slitty eyes and the white underbelly, this thing was looking like a cottonmouth, and despite all scientific evidence that they don't live in Albemarle County, it looked like one, so I left.* With no photo.
On my way back around the lake, I saw something stirring on the surface of the lake. I got closer and saw it was a turtle taking bites out of a chunk of fishing floating there. No camera (though I'm not sure I needed that shot).
I took a little bluegill and was trying to figure out what to do about the bum fishing, when it suddenly turned on. I took 4 bass up to about 11 inches and one decent 'gill over the next 30-40 minutes, and I lost a monster bluegill near the bank. Suddenly it stopped.
I don't think it was related, but a group of six, mostly kids, had showed up and marked their spots all along the bank. One did catch a bluegill, which they called a "perch".** It was a nice group, but I needed some space. I was ready for new tactics, so I tied on my floating minnow and headed for the lower lake.
Shortly after, I heard a big commotion in the woods behind me. I turned and saw a huge buck running between the trees. I couldn't count, but I'm sure he had at least 8 points, and I'd believe 10 or 12, on a wonderfully symmetrical rack. No camera.
Then back to the upper lake, where I quickly snagged someone's fishing line. I could feel a light throb as I reeled in, so once I got my lure to the bank, I grabbed the other line by hand and pulled it -- and the 13-inch rainbow trout attached -- to shore. The fish had been hooked deep with a bait hook and was bleeding, and he had apparently broken off an angler's line, but not at the hook or the swivel -- the line must have somehow broken near the reel, because there was a long distance out. I gave the trout to the family, and after a few casts with my Pcola spoon went home.
So it was an odd day, with lots to report on considering I only caught six of my own fish. Despite the fun, I remembered why that's not my preferred fishing. I listened to other people talk about where the stocking truck had dumped the fish (coincidentally right next to where nearly all the trout I saw had been caught), about following the trucks around and then catching a limit, about snagging carp with big lures. Not really my scene.
Still, I wish I'd had my camera.
*If anyone can convince me that this was something else, I'd love to hear it. I hate to be someone wildly reporting a dangerous animal where it's not supposed to live, but I really can't find anything else that had that combination of viper head and eyes, black-on-black banding, and white belly.
**This is apparently a regional thing, as it's not the first time I've encountered it. Before I realized this usage, I was looked at like I was an idiot when I once expressed surprise that there were "perch" in a pond.