Most Important Goal 2011…Check! 4-30-2011

30 04 2011

One of my goals for 2011was to take Sadie fishing. I thought the perfect timing would be when she’s 3 years old; she’s about 6 weeks off from her 3rd birthday. We had some great weather this weekend and she was visiting so I figured we’d go give it a shot. I’ve been slaying Crappie at Wyndham Lake, so I see no reason why Sadie won’t pull some in.

I bought her a Shakespeare Tinkerbell rod and reel for Christmas, it lights up when you cast it. All I needed were some small hooks, some bait, and a bobber, and we’d be set. I bought some PowerBait Crappie Nibbles, size 10 Eagle Claw snelled hooks, and some much larger than necessary bobbers. We set out on Saturday morning around 9:30 and head over to the lake.

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We get there and it’s much windier than I had hoped, but Sadie was excited about fishing with Dada so I didn’t want to let her down.

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I prepared the tackle the night before, so I didn’t waste time at the Lake while my busy body daughter wondered when we were going to get to fishing. We go down to an area that I know holds Crappie. I let her be the bait girl, responsible for the jar of Nibbles. She gets me out bait when I need it. I tell her I need a nibble and she proceeds to open the jar and hand me 2 (while tossing a few more into the water). After putting the bait on the hook, I help her make a cast (ok, I casted for her) and we watch the bobber. The wind starts pushing the bobber back into the bank, no signs of fish. We reel it in and cast out again. This time we get some activity. The immediate shriek and giggle of Sadie watching the bobber splash and go underwater, I’ll never forget. It was a proud moment to experience my daughter enjoying one of my hobbies, something that I enjoyed when I was a kid with my step-father, mother, father, brothers and sister.

We still didn’t get any fish so we make a few more casts. It looks as though the bobber is going to get blown into the bank when I tell Sadie to reel in…at that point the line goes tight. FISH ON!!!!! I’m not quite sure Sadie knew or understood she had a fish, but Dada was screaming “Sadie you have a fish!!!! Start reeling! Good job! Keep the rod tip up! Keep pressure on! Keep reeling!” I’m glad I didn’t yell any expletives, I know I was so excited for her one of them could have slipped out. After a few cranks of Tinkerbell, she pulls in her very first fish…a tiny Bluegill.

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I take the bluegill off the hook and offer up for her to look at it. At this point she realizes that she’s actually got a fish and doesn’t really want to get near it, almost a little scared. She can be a little shy around new things sometimes, so it’s understandable. I offer up the fish one more time to touch it, she wants no part of it. I toss it back in and watch it swim away. Gotta teach her Catch and Release early, right? Much to my delight, Sadie yells out “Let’s catch another one!”. Daddy is beaming at this point, I’m so proud of my little girl.

I tell Sadie let’s move down a bit, knowing the rock structure up ahead usually holds a few Crappie. Sadie replies, “yeah there’s prolly fish up here”. She’s already reading structure! LOL We make another cast and get another FISH ON. A few more cranks of Tinkerbell, and Sadie has landed her first Black Crappie.

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This time, she wants to touch it.

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After a few touches, pets, and pokes, I offer for her to throw the fish back. She says no and tells me to throw it back, so I toss the Crappie back in the water and we get back to fishing. We go another 10 minutes or so without much action. Sadie at this point is losing her focus, which was expected. Fishing takes a lot of patience and focus, something most 3 year olds lack but I was completely expecting it. At this point, the trip was a success. We get one more bite and land another small bluegill. Sadie is enamored with eyeballs, so she pokes the fish’s eyeball a few times. I chuckle and tell her the fish probably doesn’t like that, but he probably didn’t like the hook in his mouth either. The fish gets a little wiggly and starts flapping. It jumps out of my hand, into the air, and smacks Sadie right in the head, before landing in the water. I almost fall to the ground laughing and Sadie starts chuckling.

I happen to look down and sometime during the fracas, my bait girl has dropped the bait jar while it was open. All of our bait is spread out across the ground. I didn’t explicitly tell her, but I fired her (I took the bait jar and kept it in my pocket). At this point, her interest was waning. She was off chasing ducks and she left me holding the Tinkerbell rod and a nearly empty jar of bait. I let her chase a duck for a few minutes then we pack it up and head to the playground for a bit. I’m not sure who had more fun, Sadie or Daddy but I know one thing, I absolutely loved sharing my love of fishing with Sadie. I can’t wait to take her again.

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All photos from our trip





New Favorite Crankbait 6-15-2010

15 06 2010

Our 2nd zone AC unit broke today, so I found myself needing to get out of the house for a bit. I headed over to a lake off of Luck’s Lane that I’ve fished a few times in the past without much luck (heh, I just re-read that sentence….funny. No luck at Luck’s Lane). However, the last time I visited here, I picked up on a pattern.

This lake is shaped like a U. I’ve found the best fishing to be on the inside of the U, right in the middle where the lake is at its widest.

Leading from the banks, there are several subsurface “erosion paths” leading to deeper water. While there is thick grass covering most of the bottom of this lake, these paths seem void of any vegetation. Last time I was here, in the last 15 minutes of fishing I started working a wacky rigged Senko along these paths with minor success. I had several strikes, missing a few and landing a few.

Tonight I began the same, however, I lost my Senko on the first fish I caught and lost my backup Trick Worm to a fish who sucked it off my o-ring. That left me with my other combo, currently rigged up with a bait that I’ve been meaning to give a good try, the Mann’s 1-Minus.

I’ve casted the 1-Minus a few times and marveled at how this lure can be fished right at the surface and at 12″ below. The wide wobble action on this lure is amazing. This particular pattern was the fire shad and is a pretty chartreuse. I began casting this crankbait out along the paths and started working it in. Over the next 30 minutes, I caught 6 small largemouth and 1 decent sized crappie. I also had a follow from what is the largest bass I’ve seen in this lake; he gave my crank a nudge and then turned away. I’m assuming this wise fish has seen plenty of crankbaits in his time. I’ll be back for him later.

I love the Mann’s 1-Minus and will be throwing this more often. Baits like these cause a professed “finesse” guy like myself to try and get into power lures more easily.