Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 24, 2014 - The Fifth Fish

This week was rough for fishermen.  Scattered thunderstorms or rain were forecast every day.

I went out Thursday, fished in the rain.  It was the sort of rain where you don't feel drops hitting you, and you get damp instead of wet.  Like sitting in a cloud.  No wind though, so there's that.

Caught two small bass on a popper.  Didn't keep them.

Sunday, first decent weather in days.  NOAA forecast this day as "Decreasing Clouds," apparently not wanting to go so far as committing to "Partly Cloudy" but still wanting to do their part to stave off shitty-weather-related suicides.  Anyway, the temperature was mild.  The wind was imperceptible except whenever I was casting, as is the nature of wind.

Caught a bass and bluegill on a inline spinner, went back to the car and traded my worm rod for a rod rigged with a curly tail under a bobber, proceeded to catch 4 more small but still worthwhile bass within 10 minutes.  I hooked the last fish in the gills, which means a bleak future if released, so of course I kept him. 

Therein lies a problem:  once I've caught my limit, is it ethical to continue fishing and is there any point in the first place or should I just go home?

The answer to the second question comes first - a literary technique I've developed to keep readers on their toes.  The ultimate end that the meat fisherman hopes to encounter is to catch your limit (or slightly more) and then go home, drink Natty Light, and watch football, but not necessarily in that order based on all the Natty Light cans you run into streamside.  A real meat fisherman is not privy to all of the internal monologue that a more philosophical fisherman would consider while ripping lips.  A real meat fisherman has more in common with otters than those erudite brothers of the angle who eschew nightcrawlers and minnows and instead prefer using dry flies drinking dry martinis.

But I'm not a real meat fisherman, at least I hope not.  If there was a spectrum, one end being the noble catch-and-release fly fisherman, and the other being the beer-gut blue-collar bubba, I'd hope to be somewhere in the middle, or maybe a little left of it.

So in my view, there is a reason to keep fishing, choosing to switch to catch-and-release.  But what then if I hook a fish in the gills.  I no longer have the option to keep him and he dies unnecessarily with no one benefiting other than turtles.  What an ethical dilemma!

So I started fishing out in more or less open water that's about 12-14 feet deep, fishing with the bobber rig with the jig about 6 feet deep, thinking I might catch a crappie.  And miraculously, I did.  I'm not sure whether that was skill and talent of good luck.  I had some other taps on the jig, but didn't hook any other fish.

Here's my mess of fish.  The yellow thing is my thermometer, shown for scale.  It is exactly 6 inches long.

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