Thursday, July 11, 2013

Northern Counties of MN

Notes on hook size

Often thought about various hooks, fly sizes, etc.  Number one deadly killer of hope is a small hook gap, IMO.  Hook gap of four inches is too big; eighth of inch is too small, etc.  Spectrum analysis.  Really have to watch it with poppers I think.  Many old store-bought poppers are garbage in my opinion because the gap is too small.  BWCA 100% you will die trying with the poorly configured fly no matter how pretty it is; you will lose to a salvaged leather strap lashed to the right hook.  I’ve always figured that putting kids on panfish required optimization of hook size.  At the local pond we’d outfish the crowd by tossing little BH nymphs.  Study was furthered up north over July holiday…    started out with a small hook maybe size 12 or so, for bait fishing.  Catching fish left and right but if the kids weren’t on them like birddogs the sunnies were quickly swallowing the whole offering.  We cut off quite a few.  Bumped the hook size up…   still caught fish but they couldn’t get that whole deal ingested and the lipping was in effect going forward.  Seemed like an optimization effort.  Examination continues.
Crappies being more forgiving, according to size of paper-mouth, were readily harvested by any hook.  A group of 5-12 year old kids supplied a dinner of solid protein by way of these fish.
Thoughts on bass

There is some small chance that I might loathe bass, especially largemouth; haven’t worked it out yet.  Really not the fish themselves but I think I have a hard time getting up the effort/time/gear to go after them.  On this trip I kept wondering while drinking and/or watching kids play and/or sitting out by myself early AM…    should I throw a popper?  Maybe clouser.  What would come of it?  One thing I do like is the relative ease of casting poppers – how a guy can boom them way out and set them down along a line of pads.  There is grace to it.  Hell I still like it but now at the point of 100% would rather watch people catch them than do it myself.  LMB and panfish are perfect kid targets: heads like rocks and plentiful; they eat pretty readily.  Hell I still like catching LMB maybe just for the take – the toilet flush.  But will be forever mystified by the dollars that the fishery generates.  Not hard to catch; not a good fight and no one eats them.  It comes down to the toilet flush and falls off a cliff after that point I suppose.  Perspective of my son would be different…     after catching probably his biggest fish…      I will tell you it was a high point to see a Montague Lake Nicholas glass rod doubled over.  Kid stepping frantically about the dock shouting his versions of four letter words.  Highly memorable.  As opposed to what would have come of me catching a handful of 14-16” bass that I maybe would have photographed and forgotten the second they tailed away.  It’s possible that I’ve reached some level of boredom; everything-tastes-like-woolen-chew type setting.  Probably related to coming down from Lake MI trip but would need better and more careful diagnosis to be sure.  A point on bass in BWCA: I’m addicted to catching SMB in the middle of the old landscape.  If you took those fish and put them in a pond by my house, I would not actively pursue them.  Also, sight-fishing for SMB is a worthy deal.  If the water is clear and you feel like you are on a tropical flat and the fish come like black razor-darts.

One case in point is that while up north, I did two warmwater lake circuits with my dad and my son.  Talking 2.5 hours each instance.  I did not bring a rod on either occasion.  Rather, I rowed around endlessly.  Antique oars groaning, struggling locks…    good imagery, good sounds.  And appreciated vibes from the maneuverability of that craft: touch the oar and feel the pivot.  Pull back hard and move the boat backward, from your perspective.  Switch to a forward bench press movement to sneak into corners to unhook spoons.  Would have done it all day.  Watching my dad boom out giant casts into the pads.  Encouraging my son to keep casting those lures…   a pike will come.  Upshot is that I preferred the row boat to the wielding of the rod in this case. 

Screw it; can barely bring myself to pursue anything in the way of fishing right now.  Some sort of energizer may be on the way but it is TBD.  I may be bummed out that there are a number of really likable trout waters at the bottom of deep valleys that I haven’t seen in a long time.



Blogger Unknown said...

1: I feel exactly the same way about LMB, especially when I see a boat that costs as much as two college educations with NSA-style electronics scream past me on the freeway while I am cartopping an aluminum canoe -- we're both going fishing. Who's going to have more fun?

2: I'll pay you real money for that old Hamm's opener.

5:58 PM  
Blogger John Montana said...

Seems to me like you are till finding joy...just in slightly different ways on the water. I think that works.

Love the oars...fantastic.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Redtail said...

In our Indiana streams, SMB are basically all that's worth fishing for. I'd put the fight of a stream smallie up there with trout, with greater potential for consistently larger fish. But they're pretty mediocre table fare, with no comparison to a trout.

90% of the joy is the river itself, the mystery of what's in the next pool or around the next bend. Same goes for trout and smallie waters.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

I'm with the cartop.

Even better on the opener... found it in an old fish cleaning shack, abandoned on my dad's property.

The rowing was joy... right on there. Good word.

I like SMB, Redtail. Just grumpy maybe; hard to get excited about bass sometimes.

Tablefare will come this weekend I think.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous PF said...

Much to be said about the joy of rowing a boat - beautiful fish James has there, pumpkinseed X green, yes ?

7:30 AM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

I thought green when I saw it; another family member said seed. Is that hybrid common? Good note.

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