Monday, August 22, 2011

Gavin's First Fish

The phone rang Wednesday evening.  We were all outside playing around.  A few were sitting on the porch, a few were riding bikes and the rest of us were tossing the football back and forth getting ready for football season.

I stepped off to the side to see who was calling me.  It was Mom or Dad.  I hesitantly answered the phone.  They don’t call often and I didn’t want to hear bad news.  It was the opposite.  Dad had called to ask if we would like to go camping at Clark County Lake with them.  Clark County Lake is about half way between us.  Plans were made and Friday night after work we were on our way to go camping for the first time this year.

I had used mapquest to get driving directions since there are no towns around the lake for me to put into the GPS.  Mapquest directed us out and around to get to the lake.  Being creative I dragged and dropped points on the map so we could get a more direct route. 

Christina was reading the directions.  We had made it all but the last 15 miles to the lake.  She tells me after the last turn that the next turn is onto a road with no name and it is 1.4 miles ahead.  In 1.4 miles we see the road as we pass by it.  The road is iffy.  It is graveled but crosses a cattle guard first thing and then winds back and forth down through some trees and emerges as it crosses the ridge line.

If we don’t take the road we are looking at an extra 40 miles.  We would have to drive around the hills this road will supposedly take us through.  After some debate it was decided to take the road.  It started out nice and then as we got further into the journey and across more and more cattle guards the road narrowed, and was no longer graveled.  The trip across the road was slow as the road was very rough.  At some points the tire tracks were deep enough that another road was started next to the original.

Three quarters of our trip across the hills we come down into a valley full of cows.  There is a barn and the road goes right beside it.  As we get closer we realize it is somebody’s home.  We hoped that the road continued.  We had gone too far to turn back.  We got a little closer and saw that there were gates across the road next to the barn.  So much for free range cattle and our road. 

Christina looked at me and said, “We can’t go back.”  She got out and opened 2 gates to get us through hoping that we would not get shot.  On the other side, there was a split in the road leading to two houses.  One went deeper into the valley and the other looked to go back up the hill.  I asked Christina which we should try.  She said the one up the hill so we started up the hill.  It ended abruptly at the house.  It didn’t continue on around the house as we had envisioned.  As we were backing down the hill somebody stepped out onto the deck and waved us up to talk.

I got out and walked up to the deck nervously.  I apologized for stirring up his cattle and driving up to his house and explained how we had gotten to this point.  He asked where I was from and explained that I was on ranch roads.  I asked him if the road continued on past the other house and he said that it did.  He gave me directions the rest of the way to the lake and told me that once I hit pavement stay on pavement.
We made it to the lake after dark.  Dad grilled up some hot dogs.  We ate and talked for a little bit then set up the tent. 

The next day I got up and started fishing the rocks in front of camp for largemouth.  I caught about 10 in the first hour of fishing with my two largest being 17 inches and 15 inches. 

After breakfast we headed out on the boat to troll for some white bass.  Leo caught the first one and it went into the live well.  Gavin caught the first fish of his life at 3 years old.  He reeled in a flathead catfish.  Not much else was caught before lunch. 

After lunch we fished around off the bank for a while.  Gavin was really into casting and reeling.  He had one fish swirl at his worm as he was reeling it, but it didn’t get hooked. Leo caught a saugeye.  I was fishing with a small piece of worm trying to catch bait fish for later that night. 

Most of us got in at least a short nap in the afternoon.  Dad and Leo went back out in the boat to try to catch some more white bass.  Leo snagged a large shad.

That afternoon I grabbed the fly pole.  I was a little rusty getting started and started to wonder if I would be able to catch a fish.  A few flips of the rod later it started coming back to me.  I saw a bluegill break the surface after a small dragonfly.  Whipping the rod back and forth, I lined up my cast and dropped the elk hair caddis where the bluegill had risen.  I gave a slight pull on my line to give the fly some action and all of a sudden there was a swirl.  The fly disappeared.  I pulled more on my line.  As I did I see the line shooting off to the side.  I had a fish on.  I had forgotten how much fun a bluegill can be on a fly pole.

I landed that first bluegill then went back to work catching several more bluegill.  I heard Christina yelling from behind the cattails behind me that they were about to go on a drive to the other side of the lake.  I yelled back that I would be right there.  I made my way down the shoreline and out the other side of the cattails.

The road to the other side of the lake went up and down the hills of the canyon snaking its way to the other side.  The drive was scenic and rough.  By the time we got back it was getting close to dark.  We ate supper.  I got the boys poles set up for catfishing.

Gavin got tired and wanted to go to bed right away.  Leo stayed up late and finally got tired of fishing when we weren’t catching anything.  I was hot and sticky from sweating all day.  I had to stay up late so I could get some sleep. 

The next day we got up.  I caught a nice chunky largemouth off the rocks.  Mom had breakfast ready, so I only got a little fishing in.   

Dad, Gavin, Leo and I went out on the boat after breakfast.  Gavin caught the first white bass, and then he hooked another that Leo reeled in.  Dad caught one.  Leo wanted to change baits so I let him pick out the lure he wanted to use.  The lure worked well and Leo caught the next few keepers. 

Dad hooked into something that felt like a fish but as he got it in he realized it was somebody’s line.  I grabbed the line off his hook and started hand pulling it in so it would not get tangled around somebody’s prop.  As I got it closer I felt some tugging back.  There was a live fish on the hook of the other line.  Somebody had broke off and the fish had taken the bait and had been swimming around with the hook in it’s mouth.

We ended up with 6 keeper white bass by lunch.  Gavin had 1, Dad had 1 and Leo had 4.  I didn’t fish since I was helping the boys.

After lunch we packed to go home.  I punched in the quickest way home on the GPS.  Right after our first turn we cross a cattle guard with a sign next to it that said No Hunting or Trespassing.  It looked like a pretty major road so we continued down it crossing several cattle guards along the way.  Finally we reached a highway and cruised on home.  This road still went through.

We had a lot of fun this weekend.  Gavin caught his first fish.  Leo out fished everybody.  We had slightly cooler days with highs only in the mid to upper 90’s and overcast into the afternoons.  It was a great weekend for camping.

Gavin's first fish

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