You likely have heard my philosophy about when to fish: The best time is whenever you have time, every time you have time. In practice that means I have a lot of fishing trips that last a couple, three hours, I fit them in whenever I can.
Ideally, those short trips are made at prime times. I would rather spend a few hours fishing during the right time than lots of hours at the wrong time, but sometimes you just gotta go when you have time. In the past few weeks, several trips have been during midday, middle of the afternoon, hardly prime time during the heat of the summer. But, hey, there was water, I had time, the fishing gear is always with me, gotta fish!
The first goal anytime I pick up a rod is to catch a fish, a decent fish. I absolutely hate to get skunked, so I always want to catch at least one decent fish to “kill the skunk”.
When I say “decent fish” I am not talking about just any little bluegill or little bass. It has to be something a little bit bigger than that, a “respectable” fish, at least by my definition.
In the middle of the afternoon in July, catching just one fish leaves me wanting more. But, at that time of day, just one nice fish may make a very successful fishing trip!
Here are some of the “one fish” I have caught in the past few weeks. First was a real nice crappie caught while the rest of the family frolicked in the water:
I got all excited when I caught that 13-14-inch black crappie in the middle of the afternoon. I figured where there was one nice crappie there would be more, but another hour or so of trying a variety of tricks yielded not another bite.
An evening trip after a hot afternoon resulted in my son catching a bass:
Not a big bass, but a respectable fish. Best of all, it was caught on a top-water bait!
Daniel lost another bass, and I had one swirl on a bait but miss the hooks. Later in the evening, I missed a fish on consecutive casts, the second time because the tail of my plastic bait looped over the hook point on the hook set. AAArrrrgggghhhhhh! We ended up with. . .
After another blistering hot afternoon I had a chance to dip my feet in some cool, clear, trout water. There were midges and caddisflies everywhere, and just before dark I saw some feeding activity. I scrambled to find something they would take before it got too dark to see what I was doing. Finally!
I do not make a habit of quitting right after I catch a fish, quite the opposite, but it was getting too dark to see the rocks and too dark to see my “strike indicator”. I literally caught a rainbow, and then did not make another cast. I had killed the skunk; called for darkness with only. . .
One short trip did result in several fish being caught, but most of them were small. In the middle of the afternoon, it was fun just to have the action, and I did catch one quite a bit bigger, a 14-15-inch smallmouth:
I was happy with it, and the others that were smaller, but still fun to catch.
Especially when you consider that the next short trip did include a few hours spent at prime time, sunset and after dark, on a spot that has produced a lot of big fish for me over the years, but this time the skunk survived. I knew the wind and conditions were all wrong that evening, but I had the time to fish and was not going to miss the opportunity. Some nights it just does not come together.
Before I quit rambling, let me mention one other “theme” to my time on the water the past few weeks. . . . Family–another good reason for taking advantage of a few hours here and a few hours there to do some fishing. I have always done that with family, when we are together we may have only a few hours between meals and festivities when we can slip away to do some hunting or fishing. Those times may be short, and the catch or harvest may be limited, but that does not mean that we do not thoroughly enjoy the time together! Very much what our Take ‘Em Fishing Challenge is all about!
My cousin and I have done that for a long, long time:
I am afraid some of our goofiness has rubbed off on my daughter:
Even my Mom got to dry a few off from a backyard pond:
There will be more and bigger in the weeks to come, but you know what? Sometimes it just takes. . .