March 31, 2005

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

One might argue the fact that, a sunny sky, warm temperatures and a free schedule were what sent me to the pond for my first fishing outing Sunday afternoon. Sure that had plenty to do with it. But, anyone that lives within a three-mile radius of my house probably could pinpoint my true motive. They likely heard my screaming kids running all over the house releasing months of cabin fever and fueled by sugar high fed by 10-pounds of Easter candy they inherited at the communityís egg hunts the previous day.

So what if my first trip to the pond was as much about some peace and quiet as it was about actually catching a fish? Fortunately for my editorial content, my tranquillity was short lived as the water erupted on my third cast as a nice little bass inhaled my bright, new spinnerbait.

I caught seven or eight nice bass in less than half an hour. I must admit my results were significantly better than I had hoped for. I probably would have stayed right where I was if it hadnít been for my wifeís dog. She quickly located me and discovered the fun of trying to retrieve my fish as I tossed them back. It seems like she doesnít believe in catch and release.

Iíll give you a quick glimpse of my canine disciplinary skills Ė I gave up my hot spot and went to another pond. Thatís probably why the puppy was shipped off to the farm in the first place. Instead of teaching her to stay out of the water, to leave the fish alone and that a fishing lure hurts when impaled in your bottom lip after you take a playful lunge at it, I let her win.

If that darn dog hadnít shown up 15 minutes later at the new pond, Iíd probably be singing her praises right now. At least Iím willing to overlook the mess she made of my pants when she took a bad step around that mud hole right in front of me. After I scraped off the bulk of the stinky mess, I moved to higher ground.

The new spot was more productive. My spinnerbait found an opening between a number of submerged tree limbs. It sure looked like a good hiding spot and my instincts proved true when my line started heading out to sea. A few minutes later I won the exciting battle and hoisted a fat bass that tipped my mental scales at four to five pounds.

But that proved to be my lone catch at the new pond. A few more swimming attempts by the pooch and I was rid of the fishing pole and heading for the timber in search of deer sheds. I figured surely this retriever pup would be better equipped to tromp through the woods in search of those lost antlers than she was for serving as my fishing guide.

Unfortunately a few hours of walking only turned up one side of a decent little eight-point buck. Of course the fringe benefit was the fact that the puppy was now tuckered out and she quickly curled up for a nap next to the truck.

I took advantage of the break and retrieved my fishing tackle for a few last casts. Again the pond proved slow. But the wait was well worth it as my second, and final strike, proved more adventurous than my first. I knew I had something nice on the other end of the line. This battler was tugging even harder than my first fish, leaving my imagination leaping into the record books. My dreams of fame and fortune were dashed when I got the first glimpse of this bass. Thatís not to say I was too disappointed. How can you be dissatisfied with a seven-pound lunker?

It was enough to have me still smiling three hours later as I waded through wadded up chocolate wrappers and what was left of my house after the kid swarm finally collapsed in a sugar-withdrawal coma. If I could have only bottled that energy, I wouldnít have had to buy any $2.00 gas for at least a month. I could have used that money I saved to buy a few new spinnerbaits. Iím going to have to replace this one as that big fish did a number on it.

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