Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Best ten minute fishing trip ever

About a week and a half ago, I experienced the misery pleasure of helping Kelly with her field work. To make a long boring scientific explanation as brief as possible, Kelly samples invertebrates in small streams (picture a tiny trickle through a southern pine forest) as part of her graduate research in biology. Kelly's study streams don't offer a whole lot that would interest the average fisherman, but if you're really into aquatic entomology and thorny briars you might enjoy it.

Kelly lured me into assisting her by promising that we could go fishing nearby after we finished with our work. Her field site is about a two hour drive from home, and I knew there wouldn't be much time left for fishing if we tried to fish anywhere else. What neither of us knew at that time was that the river nearest to Kelly's research site is a typical southern lowland river- muddy water... a catfish ditch. Not a place where a fly fisherman would have much fun or success.

So, after seeing the catfish ditch, we decided to head back toward home and familiar, fly fisher friendly, water.

We arrived at the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge with approximately ten minutes of daylight left.

At least we had the river to ourselves.

We rigged our rods in record time, put on our wading boots, and we were in the water. The clock was ticking.

We quickly waded to some promising looking water, and I caught one Alabama Spotted Bass (Micropterus henshalli) while sight casting my "Stealth Bomber" to a Longnose Gar (Lepisosteus osseus). The gar showed no serious interest, but I was quite content with my one pound consolation prize.

Kelly caught one fish too.

Fish don't care if you wear your field work/painting tee shirt.

Hers just happened to be about twice the size of mine.

The funniest part of this story is that we have returned to the same section of the Cahaba twice since the "ten minute fishing trip" and neither of those follow-up trips produced anything worth reporting. Three days after the "ten minute trip" we took off work a few hours early and wade fished again for about two hours... Kelly caught one Green Sunfish while I spooked a bunch of carp and missed one small bass. One week after the "ten minute trip" we returned with kayaks and wasted another two hours floating around pestering undersized sunfish with oversized poppers... I think Kelly may have landed one Bluegill.

In ten magical minutes we caught more bass than we did during two trips and four hours worth of fishing from kayaks and wading.

The fishing gods obviously don't bestow their gifts based on effort.

You just need to be in the right place at the right time.

18 comments:

  1. The right place at the right time... I experienced that this week myself! Good times... That was a pretty awesome 10 min stint! = )

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    1. Thanks, RD. I only wish we had experienced a little more than ten minutes of it.

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  2. it probably as much time to get your gear on, RD said it, right place right time!

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    1. Blake, thanks for the comment. Right place, right time... and sometimes you only need a few minutes.

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Larry. Finest ten minutes of my last few weeks.

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  4. "You just need to be in the right place at the right time."

    Truth!

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Ty. Luck probably helps too.

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  5. Sometimes the spontaneous trips are the most eventful and the planned ones not so much. Maybe it has something to do with the 'trying too hard' thing. Looks like it was a good ten minutes though.

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    1. Bill, I'm always trying too hard... I think you hit the nail on the head there. I think high expectations of well planned trips set us up for disappointment. We had zero expectations with only ten minutes of daylight left.

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    1. Yes sir! Even if it is just ten minutes.

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  7. I'll take dumb luck over hard work and effort everytime!

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  8. Pehaps the catfish ditch might have been the right place at the right time, at least once. Kelly's bass was nice though and proves your point!

    Gregg

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    1. Gregg, thanks for stopping by. I've had a lot of fun in catfish ditches, and even caught a catfish on the fly rod a few times. When you live in the South, you can't help but fish a catfish ditch every now and again... and I'm always hoping it's the right place at the right time, wherever I cast my line.

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  9. “The fishing gods obviously don't bestow their gifts based on effort. You just need to be in the right place at the right time.” - I totally agree with you since light, temperature, and weather conditions can really affect your fishing. Well, at least, this knowledge can help you to better plan for your next fishing trip. ;)

    Melanie Daryl

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    1. Melanie, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I'm glad you put the little winky smile after your comment, because otherwise I would suspect you think I actually believe in "fishing gods." In truth, I have made lots of plans around the weather (especially cloud cover and temperature patterns), but as we all know "the best laid plans... often go awry." Sometimes the fish just don't cooperate no matter how well you plan. There is a book called "Predicting the Bite" (a very scientific approach to fishing) that I would really love to get my hands on, but I suspect even that book is only right most of the time... but never all of the time.

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