Sunday, October 07, 2007

Gone Fishin'

Some people, including certain brothers-in-law, get to go on multi-day, backwoods fishing trips with their buddies. I, on the other hand, am married with children. Thus, when I go fishing, it means something that can be driven to within about a half hour, isn't too terribly dangerous for childrens, and where the predominant fish species is quit happy eating worms.

After yesterday's fiasco fishing, HannahC really wanted to go back again today to give it another shot. At least,that's what she told me when she woke me up from a very happy sleep this morning.

MaxieC was right there, too, so he got it into his head that he'd go fishing as well. This in turn caused The Mrs. to huff and puff in her very best put-upon fashion and come along as well. After a nutritious meal of Easy Mac, we were off. We didn't even have to stop for worms, as we had plenty left over from yesterday.

When we got there, we had the whole pond to ourselves. Just us and the water. No other fisherpeoples.

No fish, for that matter, either.

Yeah, we got a primo spot on the back where we could spread out a little and cast into the center of the pond without snagging trees or each other, but there were simply no fish. I'm actually starting to sense a pattern around here. Whenever I've gone fishing around 9, there are no fish. The fish seem to wake up around 10:30.

Today was cold and windy in the morning, so maybe that had something to do with it. Though I can't for the lift of me figure out why a fish would care if there was a little wind.

MaxieC fished with a real hook for the first time in his life. He can cast like a pro. He out-cast HannahC quite handily, though don't tell her that. He cast about three times, didn't catch any fish, and decided that was plenty of fishing for the day. He and The Mrs. then spent the rest of the time leaf hunting and chasing ducks.

HannahC and I headed down-pond to the end at which everything piled up because it was down wind. There, we saw maybe 15-20 fish in the water. So we started fishing them. Naturally, there was about 8 feet of space for us to stand, it was under a tree, and down a slightly steep bank. The fish couldn't hang out where there was some room. Nooo, they all have to crowd in the weeds at the tip of the pond.

Now, I gotta tell you, these bluegills in this pond are the craftiest little bunch of worm-stealing bastards I've ever come across. They sit there and study the worm very carefully, them grab it on the side and go, never touching the hook. The picked worms completely off the hook despite these being "bait grabber" hooks that have barbs all the way up the shaft, and despite the worms being threaded onto the hook from head to toe, not just stuck through the side.

We couldn't set the tackle and bait boxes down by the pond cuz of the slope, so they were up behind us about ten feet. At one point, I was fishing, and I heard this commotion behind me, and then something bumped into my legs from behind. It was HannahC, who had lost her balance coming back from getting a worm and had log-rolled down the hill and come to a rest at the back of my legs. If I hadn't been standing right there, I think there would have been substantially more moisture involved in that roll.

HannahC, bless her heart, didn't cry or scream or anything, she just expressed deep concern for her fishing tackle and immediately checked it out. It was fine. I suppose we should be quite happy that she managed to fall over, roll down a small hill while holding a fishing rod with baited hook, and come to a rest on my legs without anyone getting injured. But I thought it was funny as hell. So I said, "Hurry up and get that hook in the water. You can't catch fish if you're lying on the ground with your hook in the dirt."

I managed to catch three fish. One of each, to quote Fat Moother.

The first was a little bluegill. After quite an argument with HannahC over whether it was too small or not, we kept it to eat. It later turned out to be too small, as it shriveled into nothingness upon cooking.

The second fish was identified as a carp. I'm not positive it was a carp, but given the Mr. Stinkyfish episode, we decided to err on the side of caution and let it go. It was too small to eat at any rate (though bigger than the bluegill). HannahC complained a whole mess about letting it go, as she claimed to have loved the taste of Mr. Stinkyfish. I also regretted letting it go, as carp destroy the habitat of normal game fish.

Shortly thereafter, I landed what was again identified as a carp. This time, I slit its throat, as I was not going to let our new fishing hole get overrun by stinky slimy carp. I ditched it under a bush. But then I got to thinking. Hmmm... The thing about Mr. Stinkyfish was that he had the wrong number of fins for a bass. But this fish had what I though was the right number.

So I retrieved him, and laid him out on the fillet board. I got out my Colorado fish identification guide, and damn did he look exactly like a smallmouth. The only problem was that the fish ID guide has the smallmouth as having red eyes, and this one had black eyes. But the shape was right, the fins were right, the jaw was right. All of that was wrong on Mr. Stinkyfish.

So we kept him.

HannahC likes to gut the fish. I slit them open, she rips out the guts with her fingers. She got guts in her hair today. We found them later.

Anyways, upon returning home, I smoked the bluegill and smallmouth with Sugar Maple wood. I compared the smallmouth with the picture of the one that The Mrs.'s brother caught, and they looked the same, except my fish was smaller. Both had black eyes.

The Mrs. and The Childrens ate my fish. I was given one tiny morsel about half the size of a pencil eraser by HannahC. I hear it was quite good. Much better than Mr. Stinkyfish. I can't say for sure, though. I can say it didn't stink up the whole neighborhood when being cooked like Mr. Stinkyfish did.

I also spent about 6 hours blowing out my sprinkler system today. The Dave Guy lent me his air compressor in exchange for me loaning him my lawn tractor (his is dead). It was only 4hp and not a lot of flow rate, so it was like 30 second of blowing the line, then 4 minutes to regenerate, repeat 3-4 times. 34 zones like that. Ugh. The Childrens discovered a spot where "bubbles are coming out of the ground" that turned out to be a leak in a join on the supply line for one of the boxes. I dug it out a bit, enough to see the problem, but not enough to fix it. It's 2" PVC, and they have two lines coming together at about a 10 degree angle, but used a straight coupling. The coupling leaks like crazy at one end (the one angled off by 10 degrees) and is glued on perfectly to the other. I'm not sure exactly how to fix that, as I don't think I can buy 10 degree angle couplings. I may have to go with one of those flex couplings, but I'm not sure those are supposed to be used on lines that are always under pressure.

We shall see.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good time was had by all Damn it!

ellie said...

i don't know. fishing always seemed boring to me, but that's probably because i only went a couple times and never caught anything good.

Nava said...

I think Steven Wright put it best: "There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot".

blogauthor said...

Offspring loves EasyMac for breakfast. And I wish I could just once eat fish fresh caught from a pond/lake/river/stream/ocean instead of buying it from the good fish market way on the other side of town, or worse, flash frozen from snooty Whole Foods or worst of all, from the grocery store. The one by the bank with dead employees.

Anonymous said...

I will not buy fish from the grocery store here in Fort TomCollins. It's been dead waaaaay too long. Whole Foods is a good bet, if you're willing to pay through the nose and drive 30 minutes each way and fight through the only parking lot in town reminiscent of San Schmose. Nava, please go to Lunardi's and cook up some Chilean Sea Bass and think of us.

Anonymous said...

I would rather have the EasyMac or actually real Velveeta Mac and cheese. No wait - actually I would like a nice hot plate of spaghetti with hot italian sausage- no wait I think I would rather have pork and sauerkraut. Well any or all of them make a damn good breakfast.

ellie said...

stomach of the ox?

Nava said...

Never been to Lunardi's. Plus, The JohnnyB will slaughter me if I even look at a Chilean seabass, of all fish - something about the environment or the rights of fish. would you settle for a chicken in tarragon and mustard cream sauce? And what would you like to drink with that?

Anonymous said...

I had sea bass once at a fancy restaurant with my boss and this consultant. It was a special. It was so gross and rubbery. Yuck.

Anonymous said...

C'aint no way get no decent sea bass in the Buff.

Anonymous said...

I suggest carrying a couple of pictures with you next time. It's pretty hard to confuse a carp with a smallmouth, and I'm not really sure how a feller with a friggin' PhD can't figure out how to identify two fish about as similar as a penguin and an apple.