Friday, August 22, 2014

Felsenthal NWR - Friday is for FISHING

My favorite day of the week is Friday, not b/c it's the end of the week (hardly if your a parent) but b/c Friday starts with the letter "F" and so does "F"ishing...any reason is good with me (no matter how lame)!!!  Didn't have an idea of where to go or do any pre-planning...just woke up itching for some catching.  After my morning routine was done, I decided to head to the refuge.  I don't expect much from the refuge, it's a nice place to paddle, especially if you like natural beauty...the place is full of water fowl, wild game, many interesting types of plant life.  But my experience is there is SO much water and covering it is the key to catching bass...bream on the other hand are readily available.  That often means paddling many miles (8-12) casting at every cypress tree in sight.  But the fish are there, and it's nearly in my back yard so the work had to be done on this trip.

It was a late start at 9am and getting hot quickly.  No real breeze that I noticed.  I was starting to wonder why I didn't just wait until Saturday morning and get out early.  The past few trips I have thrown a frog but knew that wasn't going to work.  Actually, tackle choices were simple, it was 85F and under blue skies.  Gonna be flipping shaded side of cypress all day.

It didn't start out great.  First few hits I completely goofed on.  I felt the strike but hesitated...feeling again to be sure it wasn't a cypress knee.  Sure enough I got the "give me that back" tug and then blew the hook set.  It was about 2 hours later and half a pound lighter (dehydration) when I finally got to unhook a fish....RELIEF!! Not much to look at but it's success!!
It's small but it's a catch
I started getting a few more thumps but could never get the hook inserted properly.  It was like they were too lazy to fully commit to eating.  I guess the 101F temp day was slowing them down too.  So I got to my mid way point a cool 4 miles away from where I started and was wishing for a thunderstorm or maybe a hail storm.  Nothing dangerous just golf ball size hail to lay on in my kayak.  
The half way point
  On the return, I did much of the same, cursed the sun, sweat, and fished shade.  I managed to catch a few more but nothing spectacular.  I thought it was ironic that I would SIT in the sun and fish in the shade...being careful to not GET in the to not spook the fish...sound crazy??
I think the fish were sweating.
I kept struggling but like I mentioned in my last post you gotta keep believing.  On back-to-back casts I hooked 2 nice fish that didn't want to have their pictures taken.  Frustrated and melting, I was ready to throw in the towel.  So I started paddling back.  About 10 minutes into my paddle of shame, I had a change of heart...I wasn't done.  I had an hour before I had to be home.  I looked at the water clarity and noticed it was very murky...maybe 1-2ft visibility.  I decided to change to a black/blue craw.  However, it didn't really change my fishing fortune.  Lot's of casting, few missed fish, and more sweating.  At 2:15 I decided I was really done...but the "1 more cast rule" had to be applied.  So I found that last fishylookn spot and pitched the craw in...ready for battle I waited.  Then I saw the line tick, reeled down and set on.  It dives down and then comes straight up...I saw a flash and knew it was the best fish of the day.  I swung it beside the cuda and reached down and grabbed my prize.  It was over so quickly the bass wasn't done fighting so he started tail smacking me in my kayak.  Even drew a little blood from the bass rash he gave me on my thumb.  Worth it all!!

Pulled it out last minute=win!
The last fish on the last cast of the day wasn't the biggest ever but it reminds me to keep giving it your all.  Stay positive and positive things will happen.  Keep at it until you get your prize.

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