This is the awkward season for fellas like me; almost prime fishing time but – torturously – not quite.
Josh Miller (shown) and I gave it our best effort Monday morning at Oxbow Trail, a rec area well looked after by the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District. But no soap, or fish, either.
The water was still too chilly for optimum spring activity down there in the depths, on top of which a rip-snorting gale made boat control nearly impossible for anything other than trolling or perhaps tying up to tree and fishing under a bobber.
But that’s not us. We being ‘purists’ (read: stubborn) had our sights set on a few hours of chunkin’ and windin’ in a quest for a largemouth bass. A hawg. You know, one of them, there great ole’ big’uns.
We pitched crankbaits at ‘em. We dragged jigs great and small everywhere we thought a bucket mouth might lurk. Plastic worms? Oh my, yes. I even trotted out my universal go-to for everything from bass and crappie to northern pike, the versatile Blakemore Road Runner.
No soap (or fish, either). Fast retrieve or ponderously slow. Shallow, mid-depth or tight to the bottom. Not a tickle.
But the trip wasn’t a total loss. Not by a far shot.
Conversation was first rate; Josh discovered a great new piece possessed of excellent water quality and excellent bank fishing prospects, his preferred strategy. It is an ideal place to bring his young family and he even found an unexpected bonus waiting for him there; the expanse of grassland surrounding the lake is ideal habitat in which to work with his upland bird dog. A rooster pheasant even beckoned his return with a lusty cackle.