The Breakroom > The Water Cooler

First Catch of the Year

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I got up at 4:30 this morning to go fishing. I had put clothes in the bathroom so I wouldn't wake everybody up, especially the new puppy, who would be sure to get the household up. The car was all loaded up, my boat on top, fishing gear in the back. I had a slice of homemade coffeecake wrapped up in the fridge, along with a water bottle. Grabbed those. I planned to stop on the way at Dunkin Donuts to get the coffee.

It was 35F out (2C), pretty chilly even for here in May. Well, we're not much into May. Just four and a half hours!

Anyway, made it outside to the car with everybody still snoozing. Backed down the drive to the turnaround and headed out. Destination a 70 acre pond about a half hour away.

The road up the mountain was being resurfaced and the pavement was scarified, speeds reduced. No problem...with my coffee now and plenty early it was nice to be driving. Trees were still bare, except the conifers, but budding out. I didn't see another car the entire way to the pond. Normally there's an out-of-stater on my tail til we get to one of the several truck passing lanes. But nobody was driving this early Sunday morning.

When I got to the pond, again, no one was there. A mist on the water. A couple of geese squabbling in the distance. The water was still. The sun hadn't peeked over the trees yet. I untied the boat. It was chilly, but I had a lot of clothes on. Launch went as usual, I don't think it takes me 5 minutes to stow the tie-downs, carry the boat to water, load the fishing gear and oars aboard and get under way.

It's a wonderful feeling being alone, early morning, on a still lake with a nearly completely wild shoreline. I saw a pair of loons surface. They were within 50 feet of the boat, I altered course to avoid disturbing them. Soot black heads.

I was trolling, lines out about 60 feet. A spoon and a small plug. I made one pass around the pond without a bite or seeing any fish surfacing. Soon after the second circuit, however my right rod jumped, and a fish was on. A good size one from the feel of it, too.

I played it carefully as I had only a 6 pound leader. It was a dogged fight, and I kept the rod low to discourage jumping. The fish stayed down, so I though it was probably a brown trout. Rainbows generally head for the sky as soon as hooked. I guess that's apt!

Anyway, it stayed down, swam under the boat, and then started towing me around. It just didn't seem to tire. I kept a loose wrist and just let it tug, giving it whatever direction it wanted to go in. But eventually it swam toward my second line. This would be a problem. I tried to increase pressure to head it off, but that didn't work and I saw my other rod move in unison with the one I was holding.

Nothing for it but to just let it tangle and swim where it wanted. The boat was following, so there wasn't a lot of pressure. This is one of the advantages of a very light easy rowing boat. Not a lot of resistance.

The fish stopped, and then headed back under the boat. The water depth was only 8 feet here. I saw a flash. It was definitely tiring. I got the net ready in the water and shipped the port oar. The fish showed a couple feet away -- yes a brown, and a good size one. I eased it in toward the boat and got the net under it before it gave a good slap, which might have been a jump otherwise. But the net kept it down.

I lifted that beauty aboard -- quite silvery for a brown, but the unmistakable gold fins and red spots. It was a heavy fish for its size, deep and broad. I debated releasing it, but decided to bring it home for supper.

I dispatched it, and put it on ice. Then started untangling the lines. I pulled in the second rig, and got that free. I rowed a bit to straighten out the other line before reeling in. But it was caught on something. Snagged on the bottom. Well, one way to deal with that is to just pull slowly on the line, and in so doing, tow the boat over to the snag. Often if I pass the snag and pull in the other direction, the lure frees itself.

I pulled and eventually saw the lure come up. But no, it was not my lure, just one similar, and longer. Well I must be snagged on some else's old line, I thought. Better pull that aboard, so the loons don't get caught in it.

I pulled hand over hand, until the stick or whatever it was tangled on came free of the bottom. I felt it release, and I dragged the branch up toward the boat. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be, not a stick, but an entire fishing rod! And not only a fishing rod, but a really nice one, still fairly shiny and clean.

Well, what more could you ask for? A beautiful morning in a beautiful place all to yourself, a fine fish, and new rod and reel? Well, I could have asked for a few more degrees of temperature, but that seemed too much. So, chilled by the splashes of fish and line retrieval and a slight breeze that had picked up, I decided to head back to shore, load the boat, and finish my coffee cake on the way home. It was only 7:30.

Here are my two catches. The fish and the rod. First of May, Two Thousand Twenty Two.

Well that's supper sorted Steve !

Penny made an extremely good Mackerel Pate  for lunch - one of my favorite light bites on  a bit of buttered toast, but we didn't have the entertainment of catching the Mackerel  !

. . . nice haul  :thumbup:

John Rudd:
Nice story with a great catch… :thumbup: Love trout…me. Nice grilled with some lemon juice and buttered bread….oh and a drop of white wine 🍷

tom osselton:
This is how you cast son.  :Doh:

Thanks gents!  :beer:

Brings to mind a photo of an eel fisherman by P H Emerson, and the text which mentioned how one great eel he caught snapped his jaws on the blade of the fisherman's knife, as demonstrated to the famous photographer. Later the fisherman said:

"He fought wicious, but he ate wery nice."


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