Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Last Call on the Little Patuxent
I've made a good run of it, but nothing except the trout fishing has been at all productive. Still, I've really enjoyed my time on the water this fall, and I don't feel bad about getting skunked for the first time in 2011 on the Little Patuxent in central Maryland.
This sinuous coastal plain stream and its mosaic of beaver ponds and abandoned gravel pits were the first place I fished in Maryland in 2011; and where I enjoyed catching a nice number of largemouth before the aquatic vegetation took over in the late spring. I hadn't even stopped here since May, and while I don't regret that, it took another visit to remember how special of a place it is.
I stopped by here on a day when a cold front was headed in - 64 degrees in the morning, and 37 in the evening. Clouds pulled across the sky, and the tops of trees are nearly empty of leaves. The aquatic vegetation has died back, which (as I mentioned) has caused dissolved oxygen levels to plummet - causing the equivalent of bass being poisoned by carbon monoxide. Slooooooooow and unmotivated.
I worked through an enormous variety of lures for my light tackle spinning setup. Hard plastics. Soft plastics. Everything inbetween. A few nibbles, and one monstrous inhale of a plastic lizard bounced slowly along the bottom of the cold, black water. No fish hooked.
Summer has given up. Winter is coming....and soon. I wonder if this will be the last day I fish this year - it may well be. Goose season begins in just a few days, and I know my mind will be consumed by it for the next 10 weeks.
I have some decisions to make about how, and when, and where, and how often to hunt this season. As I grow older, these decisions have become insanely more complicated. In fact, while I probably enjoy going outdoors more than I did 20 years ago (which must be hard to imagine if you knew me as a 6, or 10, or 18 year old), the act of making my outdoor adventures actually happen sometimes wears on me. To do this means you won't be doing that. To spend time outdoors with these people means you'll miss seeing those people. Even if I wanted to take those trade-offs lightly, I just can't ignore that they exist - while I'm outdoors, my life is still happening somewhere else. It's a serious concept.
Bearing that in mind, it is definitely time to get away from fishing for a few months and to focus, when I can, on bird hunting, a serious passion of mine. Whether you like it or not, I'll be sharing with you some of my thoughts throughout the hunting season on how I'm able to negotiate some of these choices. Curious about what, if any, mistakes I'll make. It's almost show time, so I guess we'll find out.
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