Author Topic: First Catch of the Year  (Read 478 times)

Offline vtsteam

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First Catch of the Year
« on: May 01, 2022, 02:32:31 PM »
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.
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg

Offline awemawson

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2022, 02:52:15 PM »
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:


Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline John Rudd

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2022, 04:45:58 PM »
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 🍷
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Location:  Backworth Newcastle

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Offline tom osselton

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2022, 06:08:59 PM »
This is how you cast son.  :Doh:

Offline vtsteam

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2022, 01:28:32 PM »
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."
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg

Offline vtsteam

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2022, 01:29:07 PM »
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg

Offline philf

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2022, 02:31:36 PM »
A fine lookng brownie and nice looking rod & reel.

Have you taken the reel apart yet to dry it out properly?
Phil Fern
Location: Marple, Cheshire

Offline vtsteam

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2022, 07:03:28 PM »
Phil I removed the screws holding the gear plate and drained the gear case, but haven't done a lube job properly yet because of a retainer screw locking removal of the spool bearing spindle nut. I don't know if it's a poorly made screw, or a special. I'm thinking the former. I definitely don't have a screwdriver to fit.

I haven't tried alternate methods, yet, but I could Dremel the head off, and probably remove the threaded body. I don't think I could get vise grips in there.
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg

Offline vtsteam

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2022, 10:08:37 PM »
btw the rod is an ultralight 5' Shimano Magnalite carbon and boron fiber GT250. I can't find any reference online for this particular rod. The reel is a Quantum Optix 10. Oddly wound with what seems to be 10 lb test line. I'll rewind with 4 lb. I'm guessing it belonged to a kayak fisherman, where a short rod might be an advantage in a rear rod holder, especially around low hanging branches.

This rod might have been lost while trolling by backpaddling, when a snag pulled the rod out of the rear holder. High test line would make no sense for casting with this rig, and the rod also as short as it is. But kayak trolling might fit the crime.
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg

Offline Brass_Machine

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2022, 09:44:37 AM »
Nice fish! Great story, written very well!

I love to fish (for trout esp), as does my wife (tho she likes bass) and son. Don't get to do it as much as I would like, though this year I think, will change. There is a small river across the street from us that has trout....

Time to dig out the fly rod.

Eric
Science is fun.

We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.

Offline vtsteam

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2022, 10:38:06 AM »
You're nearby Eric, so probably the same early spring conditions where you are now Lots of rain, wind, and cold temps this year so far. But trout like that kind of stuff, I guess.

Vermont F&G is trying out a new strain of rainbow trout this year. We're asked to photo and report any trout with clipped fins that we catch. Left anal fin for the new variety I believe, right fin for the older strain.

The new strain is supposed to hold over better (survive more than the first year) -- which would be nice. The pond I fish at is one of those that will get the new variety. I think some of the rainbows I've caught there in the past were indeed hold overs because they were a couple inches larger than the year's stocked size. And definitely more highly colored!

The browns do hold over -- a couple years ago I caught a 21 inch fish there, and I've heard of larger. The 17" fish I caught on Sunday was absolutely filled with 4" long minnows.

Couldn't tell what they were, but very slender and silvery -- as a guess, large emerald shiners, or (not sure if they can live in that pond) rainbow smelt. Pond depth is max 35 feet, and I'm pretty sure it is spring fed, so there are some colder waters in it. Could it be smelt?
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg

Offline awemawson

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2022, 12:18:26 PM »
That looks like a propriety screw head there Steve but also looks as though making a driver for it shouldn't be impossible.
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline Brass_Machine

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2022, 12:44:44 PM »
I would think a square drive might fit in that screw?? I had one somewhere on something (cant remember what) that looked similar and was able to coax it out with a square drive.

Do you fly fish Steve?

Eric
Science is fun.

We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.

Offline philf

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2022, 01:26:01 PM »
Hi Steve,

I'd Dremel a slot in the head for an ordinary bladed screwdriver.

As for your rod not being listed I have a superb Daiwa Whisker Kevlar 7ft fly rod. It doesn't have the line weight on it so I contacted Daiwa in Scotland to enquire - they said they'd never made such a rod!
Phil Fern
Location: Marple, Cheshire

Offline vtsteam

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2022, 02:51:46 PM »
Andrew and Eric good idea about the square drive and making one. Phil, I'll probably do the slot thing, though, thanks for that. Why didn't I think of that??

Eric, I haven't done much fly fishing and what little I did was about 55 years ago! Sad story about that -- my father traveled to England in the 60's and knowing I loved fishing brought home a Hardy split bamboo fly rod as a present! I lived in NYC with my mother and stepfather, and there was very little opportunity to use it.

A couple years later I went to college, and while gone, my stepfather hired someone to come in and "clean out" the basement. I had a small workshop there, and everything was taken, including that rod and the rest of my fishing gear, along with model planes, tools, etc.

I had caught a few bluegills on that gear, that was it.

But coincidentally, last fall, I decided I would try fly fishing again, so I bought an inexpensive rod. I had an old Pflueger reel, and ordered my best guess at some line, leader, etc -- probably all wrong! I didn't know what to get for flies -- thought maybe some day tying them, but for the time being finally just threw a dart at the huge world of fly types and ordered a little box of Royal Coachmans (Coachmen?). Probably because I just remembered that one so well -- I think I might have caught the bluegill on those!

I sill haven't fished with that rig -- haven't even assembled it yet.

Funny thing is, there are also three streams on my property -- two dry up in summer, or reduce to a trickle, but one generally runs most years through. And I've seen trout in it. It's the same stream I built the bridge over in that thread a few years ago.

Have I fished there either? Nope!  :loco:
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg

Offline vtsteam

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2022, 03:12:34 PM »
Phil, that's funny about the Daiwa rod! Companies don't seem to know what they've made any more.  :scratch:

Eric, my favorite fishing book is The Philosophical Fisherman by Harold Blaisdell. He lived not far from you in mid-state Vermont, so the writing is both meaningful for the area, and yet timeless. Also very insightful in an unconventional way and, well, funny as well. No photos, just wonderful writing. You can get it in Kindle edition.
I love it when a Plan B comes together!
Steve
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sDubB0-REg

Offline Brass_Machine

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Re: First Catch of the Year
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2022, 01:44:47 PM »
Thanks Steve, I will look for that book.

I dabble in fly fishing. It really is my favorite type of fishing.

One day I would like to tie flies. The plan as I build my shop out is to have a bench for tying.
Science is fun.

We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.