Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

On my first fishing trip with my dad he paddled me around a small lake in a canoe as I asked a million questions. He had the patience of Job. Since then we've enjoyed many days on the water together. We've had good fishing and bad fishing, but we've always had great fellowship.  I remember the time I realized that my dad was not omnipotent. We were going night fishing on the Tennessee River and there were thunderstorms in the forecast. I said, "Daddy, did you read the forecast? It's supposed to storm. What are we going to do?" He calmly explained that we would go fishing and hope for the best, but that he could do nothing to change the weather.

On another occasion I remember how excited I was to go fishing with my dad and a guide on Lake Okeechobee. The only problem was that we went there during the hottest part of August. The fishing was horrible, but I did manage to get a glimpse of a very large elderly woman sunbathing nude on the deck of a houseboat.

Now that I'm 42 years old, I realize how much energy my dad must have had to keep up with us. On Saturday mornings the old man would saddle seven or more horses so that the whole family could go riding. I'm not sure I could do that, but then again, I've managed to have only 2 kids and 1 wife so far!

With seven kids and countless grandchildren, I would say that there is not much my dad hasn't seen. All things considered, he's done a darn good job with us.  

My grandfather used to tell me, "Salute your father, Jim." So this is my Father's Day salute. Thanks for being a great daddy.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Has anybody seen the bridge?

Last Wednesday morning started off like one of those dreams I often have in which I am supposed to take an exam, but I'm not sure when the exam starts, where it is located, or whether I've been to class all year. In my dream, I find myself anxiously looking for the registrar's office so that I can pick up another copy of my schedule. In other dreams, I'm supposed to play in a baseball game, but I can't find my uniform. In my worst nightmares, I'm trying to go fishing but I just can't get my gear together or get to the lake.

Wednesday morning I had plans to fish with Scotty, but I overslept and couldn't find my cell phone. I was late dropping my son off at school and I had to wait for the Elysian to open so that I could pick up my phone.  Also, I had to pick up new decals for the license numbers on my boat.

The good news is I managed all those tasks without having a heart attack, and Scotty and I were fishing Lake Washington by 11:30.  Within a few casts I hooked and lost a fish on the Articulated Zoo Cougar, Kelly Galloup's fly pattern.  On the next cast I got bit again but came unbuttoned. On the third cast to same spot, I hooked and landed this beautiful smallmouth:

I was particularly thrilled with this fish because I caught it on weightless, buoyant fly on a fast sinking fly line. The fly line would quickly sink deeper than the fly so that when I stripped the fly, it would dive like a crankbait.

A couple of hours later, we landed three more keepers while fishing along some bridge abutments. I thought we took pictures of Scotty's fish, but this is the only other photo he sent me:

It was great to see Scotty finally catch a couple of smallmouth this year. Like Ichiro, just when you write him off, he responds by hitting a couple of singles!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kiss and Tell

I had the pleasure of fishing with my original fishing buddy, my dad, over Memorial Day weekend. I chose Moses Lake as our destination this year. We launched at Peninsula Park on Saturday morning and started hunting smallmouth along rocky flats.  I tied on a Murdich Minnow and began stripping it along the surface. Before my fly had a chance to even sink, a 3 lb. smallie pounced on it from above.

Later on we visited a flat near a bridge. There another 3 lb. smallie ate my Murdich Minnow although by this time the fly was water logged.

A little while later, I landed the 4 pounder in the picture at the top. Here's another shot of that lovely fish:
The Murdich Minnow lives up to its reputation.
Last year my dad outfished me 12 to 1 on the Columbia River using a senko rigged wacky style. This year the fish wanted the fly. Finally, the old man picked up a nice fish on a senko rigged weedless with no weight.
On Saturday afternoon we visited a private lake to fish for largemouth. Unfortunately, the bite slowed down significantly. I hooked and lost a couple of fish, but my dad caught the only sizeable largemouth of the day on a spinner bait.
By Sunday morning, the fishing was slower than ever. We managed one tiny smallmouth in about 5 hours of fishing. When the Murdich Minnow failed to produce, I went through my arsenal. I tried the Meatwhistle, a chenille worm, the T & A Rainbow, the Swimmy Jimmy, and the Holshlag Hackle Fly. I tried floating, intermediate, and fast sinking lines.  No love.
This is the second year in a row that my dad and I have fished on Memorial Day weekend. For two years in a row, we seemed to have hit the post spawn lull. The result has been slow fishing for smaller fish.
I can't wait to get back to Moses Lake to hunt some of the huge carp and bass that live there.