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Sunday, April 26, 2015

It All Happens Fast

The oldtimers say it.  "It all happens fast."  Before you know it, the kids are all grown up, and it seems like yesterday they we just born.  Same with everything else.  Once spring is "sprung" its a quick countdown to summer.  Once spring hatches start on the trout streams, its a constant calendar and weather check to time it right.  Otherwise you miss it. 

Same goes with turkey season. Sometimes it's over early and you can get back to bed. Sometimes it all happens fast. 

Such was the case yesterday.  Pennsylvania youth turkey day, 2015.  My daughter is a relentless turkey hunter.  She has spent more days in the spring woods in the last 5 years turkey hunting than some of my buddies.  She has payed her dues and is kinda like a good-luck-charm whenever I take her.  We always have some action and great memories.

We set up on two birds gobbling in the roost just before sunrise in my home woods.  I gave them a few yelps to let them know "we're here."  Double gobbles came back.  Now we wait.  We played the back and forth game a little bit.  I heard them fly down off the roost.  Ground gobbles getting further and some hens with them.  Sometimes that's what you get.

Knowing the land helps.  The rolling hills here have some benches I know that the turkey feel safe on and they like to feed or favor these areas.   We backed out silently and headed around to make a big loop in front of them.  No dice.  They wandered off into a bottom and into private property.

All morning we heard a hot gobbler about 1/2 mile away across the road and on the next hill.  As a matter of fact, there were at least 8 other gobblers in the area.  Just as we were about to leave one woods for another, right below us, a gobble hammered off. Then again.

Go time.

We looped around to an area I knew he couldn't see us.  He kept hammering off, repeatedly telling us it was OK to get closer.  Gracie got into position, and once we were settled, I laid out the yelping and he instantly cut me off.  I suspected there were two birds- at least one mature bird and another.  I was right. The jake came into view at a distance, I could tell Gracie saw him, as the safety came off.  Right then, it started to snow lightly.  As he was coming closer, the Tom hung back and gobbled.  I saw her line up on the jake, and knew she was going to pull the trigger once he came left on the other side of a wide Hickory tree.  He stuck his head high, and.... BOOOM!!!!!  Folded him like a lawnchair in a windstorm. Ten yards or less.

After tagging the bird, admiring it, and taking a break to take in the surroundings, we snapped a few pictures, sent out the text, and headed home.  I cannot think of any other way to spend the morning with my daughter. Many more repeats like this in the future.

It all goes fast.





Friday, April 24, 2015

Sometimes You Just Go

We all do it... Make plans... watch flows.... watch temps..watch weather... pray...hope...do weird rituals (ok maybe that's just me).... watch more flows... second guess.... but sometimes you just gotta stick with a plan and make the best of it.

Sometimes you just go.

Such was the case this week.  We had a nice run of very warm weather which got things going on our creeks here in Pennsylvania.  It was opening day of trout season 2015 last Saturday, but I opted out.. not that I fish much for stocked fish any more, but all the trout water seems to take a hammering on opening day. 

I stayed home.  Fished the pond.  Caught up on my work around the house.  Played along nicely with the domestic game.

Of course, I knew full well there were plans in the works for mid-week fishing.

So we made plans.  We watched flows...temps...weather...etc...  It didn't appear that conditions were going to work out.  The old addage, "Any day fishing is better than a day working" seemed to ring loud and clear.  "Aw screw it, we're goin" I said to Robert while we both sat on the innerweb watching USGS stream data some 150 miles apart over the microwaves.

So we went.  The wind was howling at times. We were pelted with rain.  We had dirty water.  Water temps were dropping.  Streamer crushing brown trout.  More wind... Wait a second...
Streamer crushing brown trout?

Yeah.  Those.  You know the ones.  You're stripping your black streamer across the river from the front of the driftboat, you can see your fly and out of the dirty depths comes a totally committed sled- dog-of-a-brown trout.  Strip set, he's on the 00x and he's got no prayer of coming off.

Yeah those fish. And then some.

Was a great day to be on the water. Hell, any day on the water is a great day.  There were no conference calls, talk of work, frustrations of life, meetings with the commissioner, or other daily life nonsense to deal with.

Plain, old-fashioned trout catching, playing hooky to play hooky.  Mid-week style.

You shoulda been there.  See you next week.




Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Farm Pond Roots

I'm feelin' kinda lucky these days.  Lucky that I live in the country, away from it all, but even more lucky for having that little farm pond a walk across the road.  In less than 5 minutes I can be stripping line off my reel and casting to Largemouth Bass and a smorgasbord of Bluegill varieties that I can't identify. 
The Grand Prize of the pond- Pumpkinseed Sunfish

But the trifecta of this luck, is that I have three daughters that love to join me at the pond and share a rod- taking turns, having fun, making jokes at eachother for missing a take or losing a fish.  I'm pleased to say that this latest string of 70 degree weather has really brought the fish up allowing us to coax surface eaters.  In fact, I haven't fished subsurface flies yet. I'm also ticking up that number of days I have cast a line this year...

I've fished four days straight and will continue as long as I can put the chores off or weather changes.
I love spring and I love farm ponds. They take me back to my roots.  As a kid, I had access to a great farm pond that held big Largemouths and lots of Bluegills.  I spent my summers every single day doin' work on that pond trying to figure out how to catch the big ones.  I guess I credit that place as the place I became a fisherman.  When I fish this pond with my kids, I know they will have memories like they are making memories of their own.
The catch...
...and the release!

I've been playing with a 28mm prime lens for all of these pics.  I'm very pleased with it. Whatcha think?