The Shepherd's Heart: Hip pockets full of stories to tell

Friday, May 15, 2009

All this rain sure has muddied the waters and kept lake and river levels on the flux. Usually, by this time of the year, most of us have had a fairly decent start to our season of fishing. But this has been some other kind of year.

We visited a regular haunt the other evening and found the water to be muddy and somewhat non-productive. Another fishing hole was clearer, but the water level was very high and there seemed to be an overabundance of vegetation crowding the shoreline.

Together we managed to catch-and-release several bass at both locations, but they were few and far between, and appeared to be very hesitant to take any offering we threw their way.

Others are a little bit better luck.

A young friend at church reported that he had experienced a successful outing, bagging a big ol' two pound largemouth at a farm pond last weekend. And some folks we know had a good day of crappie fishing at one of the larger impoundments an hour or two south of the interstate.

Other than that, it appears to have been a tough spring for many an angler.

How is it that the guys on television -- and the Sunday night radio guys -- always make it look or sound so easy? My video production guy laughs and says "It's all in the editing" -- and I guess he's right. Compressing a day's worth of fishing into an hour of television (woven around sponsor commercials) or a radio sound bite probably makes the trip look or sound much less frustrating than it is.

Our buddy who hosts a radio show about the outdoors does, from time to time, talk about how hard the fishing was on this or that day, but you hardly ever hear it from the big guys on national television. They're just that good, I guess. Neither rain nor snow nor sleet nor wind nor the dark of a mid-day thunderstorm can keep those guys (and gals) from their appointed rounds. They speed from stump to stump and from dock to dock, from brush pile to brush pile and from point to point looking for their quarry. Heck, some even go from quarry to quarry in search of their prized prey.

And they always seem to fill their live wells. What's up with that?

My son and I have often felt that, with the proper sponsorship, we could get out there and win a few buddy tournaments. Then again, deep down inside we know it's not as simple as it appears through various media sources.

For now, I guess we'll canoe our way around those waters we know best, searching for that magical time when the right combination of water temperature, lure and presentation, and sunlight come together to create a great day of fishing.

In keeping with tradition, we'll return home with hip-pockets full of stories to tell, too excited to rest but tired enough to get a good night's sleep -- once we slow down enough.

And, for some of us, that's what it's all about.

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