Monday, May 27, 2013

I planted fish!

No really, I planted some fish.

I planted about 7 white crappie carcasses, 1 green sunfish carcass and the leftovers of a catfish around my broccoli, roses, cucumbers and a few perennials. Anybody had any experience with this? Can't wait to see what happens!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Week of 5/20 - A Good Week of First and Foremosts

The week of 5/20 was a good week of firsts and foremosts.

My favorite 'first' was taking care of getting my good friend, Josh Kennedy, rigged up with his new rod and reel set. He had mentioned several times that fly-fishing was interesting, but he actually took good steps to making it happen.

Josh and his boy Samuel last year at Big Lake
He bought a Redington 5W something-or-other (retail $180, $50 steal on Craigslist) that casts great, plus an old Marlboro Pflueger rewards reel his father had won. Just found the reel, backing and line kicking around his basement.

We hit Pony Creek down by Pacific Junction to try for some catfish on hotdogs Wednesday, and we got him on the water in the dark. Made me nervous. No fish on his line quite yet.

I was really happy for his messages the next day, however. He caught two teeny-tiny bluegill on the fly the next evening. As far as I'm concerned, they might as well have been 1 lb. blues. I was so excited for him! (He subsequently went out and bought a vest and a couple a pack of new flies.)

Another first that I enjoyed was my first lunch-break Largemouth Bass.

13 inches, nice solid fight.
I'll also call it a first on good work-break fishing. Nice chunky blues that run like the dickens! Check it out, FishNDave!

All-in-all, this was a good week, full of activity. Josh keeps fishing his head off, improving and practicing his cast. Recently caught about 6 tiny crappies. Kept them and buried them in his garden for fertilizer. The little blighters are helping his tomatoes out, plus it helps thin the population in the stunted pond he's fishing.

The foremost event of the week, though? My bro-in-law Zach asked me to be a groomsman. Of course I said yes! Happy to do so, bro. Congratulations.

Zach and Stephanie

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oklahoma City

I understand that all of our lives have to end.

51 people - including 20 children - have been confirmed to have met that end in the path of Monday's F4 tornado that ripped through a suburb of Oklahoma City. With 200+ mph windspeeds and a girth of a mile, it destroyed everything it came in contact with. I'm reminded of Scott Thomson's character 'Preacher' Rowe (Twister) describing a massive tornado, calling it: "The Finger of God."

As our lives continue, let us take a moment of silence to remember those that did not, and those that will never be the same.

A child is carried from the rubble of the Plaza Towers Elementary School following a tornado in Moore, Okla., Monday, May 20, 2013. A tornado as much as a mile (1.6 kilometers) wide with winds up to 200 mph (320 kph) roared through the Oklahoma City suburbs Monday, flattening entire neighborhoods, setting buildings on fire and landing a direct blow on an elementary school. (Sue Ogrocki / AP)
This aerial photo shows damage to the Plaza Towers Elementary School after massive tornado hit Moore, Okla., Monday May 20, 2013. (Steve Gooch / AP)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Captain's Log - Lunch Report

Sorry to talk about logs and lunch, but today was a good day!

I hit up a spot to find the blues plenty active. Water clarity at about 3 feet, I caught sight of a 8 inch. LMB cruising the shallows along a weed pocket. The foliage is getting thick underwater, so spawning and LMB ambush is at a high.

Gear was in the other car, so I only had two flies, a bunny-hair leech and a stealth bomber. No action on the bomber as it was HUGE, but the bunny-hair leech was productive. Got a green sunfish and watch several strikes on bass. Lost all the bass. Learned two things:

1. Always use a sharp hook. Before trying to hook the wet bunny leech to my boot, I noticed I could actually see the tip bent, and it didn't even scratch my thumbnail. No wonder I was missing them!

2. Don't hook wet, dull, barbless flies to your boot. You will lose them.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Fulfilling Moments

Six months ago, I started praying, hoping and searching hard for a job that truly fit who I was. I was praying hard to find out who I was, talent-wise. With an inspired wife and some great friends, the opportunity with ConAgra rolled up. That was a fulfilling moment, to sit in an interview and honestly express excitement about what one can do at a Unix console, then get to do it every day.

Turned out even better than I expected. My new job was five - count 'em - five minutes away from my favorite fishing hole.

They have free popcorn. I get along great with my coworkers. (That last one has never lacked, but it's a nice trend to continue.)

Every time I reflect on how those prayers have been answered, and are answered every day, it's a fulfilling moment.

I hit the water today during lunch. 78 degrees and sunny, slight breeze. Water semi-clear, not much turbidity.

Not a single bite.

I commented on this with a co-worker who enjoys the sport. I lamented my attempts with my wife via chat. She felt sorry for me. Our chat turned to our budget. We discussed cost-savings. I decided I just needed to take a good evening up at a nice spot, catch a bunch of green sunfish, and we'd have some grocery supplement.

Wife brought the girls up to work so I could take them tonight. That was a fulfilling moment.

First fish was Eva's, and a nice one at that. As you can see, she's two years old. And distressed. This fish went in the bucket. She caught another soon after, similar size. Dropped her pole. I picked it up. Fish went in the bucket.

Next two were Ruth's. She fought them hard and strong. Held it up for a picture.  Those two fish went in the bucket. Is that a tick on the grass behind her?

Skipping down the bank to the next spot, Ruth cries, "This is great daddy-daughter time!!"

That was a fulfilling moment.

All told, 3 on the fly rod, 4 by the babies. Met some polite young men out having fun. They wished us a good evening, called me a good fisherman - I denied it; they haven't read my blog.

Car doors slam shut. Girls are buckled, bucket is in the back, and we're rolling.

"We're going to go home," starts Ruth, "and we're going to kill the fish, then we're going to cut them up, and freeze them to eat later."

"That's right!"

Kind of a weird moment, that, but fulfilling in a way.

Girls are in the kitchen awaiting the spectacle. 

Apron is on, dog is out, cat is not interested (strange), and the first fish gets it. 

"Ewwww! There's blood! Yuck."

Another fish flops in the sink.

"Don't worry fish, you'll be okay!" Ruth says.

"Ho ho, no they won't," I remind her.

"Why?" she asks.

"Because we're going to cut them!"

"Oh, right. We're going to cut them up! They will NOT Be okay! Haha!"


More ooooo's and ahhh's, and the first fish is butchered. Time for bath.

Eva only had one tick on her hide. Pulled 9 off of Ruth. 8 from her scalp, one from behind her ear. Babies were scrubbed and sleeping soon after.

Butchered the rest of the fish, with the help of this awesome video. Behold:


And here we are. Only cut up one of the 14 fillets beyond recognition. They are now chilling, per my daughters earlier statement.

My wife wonders via text where I am. I send her the bag-of-fish picture. She says, "Yay! Enough for fish tacos?"

"Heck yes," I say, and it still feels as fulfilling now as it did in that moment.

Oh crap, though. I just realized I wrapped the fillets in parchment paper instead of wax paper. I hope they're okay! Oh well... lesson learned if not. It's still all about the fulfilling moments.