Wednesday, September 21, 2022

National Hunting and Fishing Day, September 24, 2022!

 And I AM going fishing, leg boot and all!

Saturday, September 10, 2022

My Best Fishing Buddy(ies) Seven Week Summer, Part 3

In this last segment of “My Seven Week Summer” I’m going to talk about the part in the middle, fishing with my granddaughters, Sophie, and Anna.

Sophie is my most frequent, and favorite “fishing buddy.” (Other than Gramma Ellen, of course.) I taught her to fish when she was five years old. We would have started at four, like her big sister Natasha, but at that age she was more interested in playing with the worms than fishing with them. Tasha still fishes, but it isn’t a passion with her like it is with Sophie. A few years ago, Sophie really picked up on fishing, year-round. She bought an ice auger and a clamshell shelter with money from her first job and took up ice fishing. In spring, she bought a fishing kayak, and added kayak angling to her skill set. She loves catching panfish and bass and is even up to the challenge of an occasional trout when fishing with Grandpa. She hasn’t taken to fly fishing yet, but I am hopeful that someday that magic will happen.

Weather permitting, I try to start the regulation fishing season each year with Sophie. (Weather also plays a huge factor in Stream Trout Season, which opens a month earlier. Many are the years I’ve gotten rained or snowed out.) So, it was important this year, given the upcoming surgery, that I make that happen. Weather doesn’t seem to effect Sophie’s fishing drive. A couple years ago we went out in the driving rain for several hours. The young woman is the most determined angler I personally know.

We were going to fish at one of Sophie’s favorite lakes, her in her kayak, and me from my solo canoe, but when we got there, it was just too windy. We cast around from the shore and the dock with no luck, so we traveled over to a nearby trout lake, and had an exciting time.

Over the winter, I had received a replacement for my Redington 2 wt. rod, and this was my first chance to try it out. Similarly, my 40-year-old collapsible ultralight pack rods have both seen better days, so I had bought a new Eagle Claw spin casting pack rod, primarily for use when I’m fishing with Sophie. This would be my first opportunity to try them both out. Ironically, the rod meant for panfish, the Eagle Claw/Daiwa combo, brought in my first rainbow trout since moving to Minnesota in 1988, on a Mepps trout spinner, and my Redington Classic Trout rod pulled in bluegills, a crappie, and a small smallmouth bass on an #16 Elk Hair Caddis dry fly. The Redington, 7’6” rod is designed and purchased for the type of woodland streams I favor in Wisconsin. It's a light, nimble, and very responsive fishing rod. I love the way it handles. It gives a very precise delivery over shorter casting distances but wasn’t really the best choice for the open lake we were fishing. The Eagle Claw with the Daiwa Silvercast reel performed exactly as anticipated, and even better, ending the “trout drought” I’ve experienced since moving to the Walleye State.

As my seven-week purgatory was drawing to an end, I reached out to Sophie (and her mother) about hitting the water one more time, the last weekend before I went into the mandatory week of pre-surgery self-isolation. Our other daughter was visiting that Sunday, and I asked if her daughter Anna might want to join us. She called Anna and the quick answer was “Yes!”

Anna is exactly one month younger than Sophie. By her own admission, Anna had been fishing a couple of times with her brothers when they lived in Oklahoma, but never caught anything. I had watched Sophie coach her young cousin from the other side of the family to catch his very first fish, much as I had with her, years earlier. I hoped she would do the same with Anna, and I was right, she did. Sophie showed Anna what lure or bait to use, coached her on casting and got just as excited as Anna when she caught her first fish, a small bass. We fished, went, and had Mexican food for lunch, and fished some more. At the end of the day, Sophie caught fourteen fish, Anna six, and Grandpa fourteen as well. (Cabela’s RLS 9’, 5 wt., on an Elk Hair Caddis dry fly) Sophie got a new fishing buddy, and I got enjoy the interaction between these two young women who hadn’t even seen each other since they were about two-years-old. It was the best possible way to end my Seven Week Summer and Fishing Season. Hopefully next year, we will have more opportunities to go fishing together.

Thursday, September 01, 2022