After fumbling around most of the day, I finally packed up my truck and headed to Owen County. I need a checklist. After thinking that everything I needed was on board, I later learned that my fish basket was still in the garage.
My truck has to be loaded in order. My two-man Pond Prowler is a beast to pack and goes first. A ratchet strap secures the boat and seats in the truck bed. My rods go on one side of the boat and the trolling motor battery on the other.
I take a cooler, bait, bedding, a change of clothes, snacks, and usually something to put the fish in.
I stepped into the woods to hunt squirrels around 4 pm on September 7th. In my haste to get going, I lightly sprayed on bug spray. The effort did not deter the chiggers, as he would learn later.
This forest has mostly gray squirrels. Often in early fall they travel in colonies. I found a gray cut in hickory. He was high on drugs and I had a .410 Henry. I had just purchased a box of shot shells for $27.55. At $1.10 a shot, I couldn’t afford to miss.
I waited until the bushy tail came down and gave me a good shot. There will be more nuts for the others. Unfortunately, this was going to be the only squirrel he would see.
As he walked towards the green door, a wild turkey cackled. Downhill and next to the barn was a herd of six. They paid little attention to me and continued to feed. The herd spent the night resting in tall trees on a knoll across the creek from the horse pasture.
It felt good to go back to the forest. I had a light dinner and hit the husks around 9 pm The aforementioned saying came from the pioneers who stuffed a mattress with corn husks.
The lake where I stay is about 11 acres. I have written about the problem with Euraision clams and their droppings causing algae growth. The growth was so extensive that it forced me to modify my way of fishing.
Everything about this lake is changing. Bluegill and redear fry have plenty of places to hide from stunted bass. The result will be more panfish but smaller. The lake also has the largest population of water spiders I have seen in 18 years.
Spiders attract swallows. These cunning birds swoop down and pick up a spider without ever changing stride.
At noon I beached my boat and re-rigged my rods. The battery returned to the charger. I drove down the highway to visit my friend Josh Pedrosa who works at Owen Valley Winery. He invited me to come help pick grapes.
The job involves bee stings almost daily. A bee would be at the back of a bunch of grapes and sting the harvester. The grapes they were picking were the sweetest I have ever tasted. The whole process is interesting even though I have no taste for wine.
Josh joined me for a night of fishing. Using one of my rods, he outplayed me. We were using Muey templates. They liked their light blue metal flake much better than my dark green one. We were using 1/64 ounce jigs with a split shot bb. We were able, for the most part, to keep our slow drop baits out of the algae.
To the victor belongs the loot and the mess of fish we catch.
My next trip will be more orderly. I’m making a list and packing the truck two days in advance.
Rick Bramwell column appears Thursday in the sports section of The Herald Bulletin. To contact him, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.