Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bald Eagles and Skunks

     Where we went in the afternoon was of no concern to me. A great day for the beach. Not so for fishing. What tactics we chose didn't matter as much as sunscreen with a high SPF. I didn't care. We'd caught fish and had a good time. For me the afternoon was about being in the back of the canoe and following instructions. Conversation and a few laughs.
     Any number of good lakes could provide us with mediocre fishing. We could have gone to a great one but why waste such water and maybe put a hex on us for the future? We chose Pine. Good water with a public access and small ma and pa resort. The usual Minnesota mix swam there. No walleyes but, like I've said umpteen times, we don't fish walleyes. I've given that some thought as to why. Mostly it's because I'm way too lazy to learn a new fish, don't like to be skunked and it makes my day to be un-Minnesotan once in a while.
     Pine has a history with us. Used to be in the rotation of usuals. It was the lake on which Larry and Ryan started to become fisherman. Also the infamous black hole where I was bit off by something really big three times in the same spot on the same day. I'd decided then and there to come back and find out what that was someday. But that someday was now in the past and I no longer cared. Well, maybe didn't care a lot would be more accurate.
     At the access Ryan had a message on his cell phone from Lois. I called her back and found that my Aunt Della had passed away. Last of my mother's family. Thirteen down and my generation bumped up to the top of the list. Better to be at the top of the shit list than the seniority roster. Aunt Della had a great sense of humor and was a card sharp of the first order. Long time marriage to my Uncle Earl and a half dozen kids. All good people. We should all have such long lives filled with love and laughter.
     Well, she wasn't a total skunk. Eldon caught a hammer handle. Left me to handle a snake. But we saw the whole lake. Don't know what's getting into El Dean these days. Seven years ago he figured a ride in a canoe was what you did if you wanted to go swimming with your clothes on. Here on Pine he was all for doing the three shore miles necessary to see everything we could see.
     Spooked a Blue Heron while we were fishing. It'd been sitting in an oak near the shore taking an afternoon nap. Minding its own business with the idea of being left alone for an hour or two 'til the fishing picked up.
     "No sweat. I'll just head about fifteen air seconds down lake and cool it in the next oak."
     Problem was, we were heading the same direction. And so it went. For close to two miles. All the way to the access. Don't know if birds ever get pissed off. But if they do, I'm figuring we were watching one.
     Breaking up the monotony we came upon a pair of Bald Eagles sitting atop two dead jackpines. They didn't seem to mind our passing. Didn't even give us a look.
     What struck me on this little lake was the presence of lavish housing. The days of the true cabin are dying. A bulldozer and a million and a quarter does a job to knotty pine, two bedrooms and modern 1950's plumbing. Gotta admit the buildings are pretty to look at. An improvement? I can't say. But there are times when it'd be nice to have indoor plumbing at the cabin. Or at least spread my urine around a bit more. Some of the trees are starting to look a bit ragged.
     Along the south shore Eldon decided to fish for a few minutes. I was fished out and didn't pick up a rod. There was a time that didn't happen to me. But now it seems it doesn't take much for me to leave the rod alone.
     The spot El Dean chose was a lily pad bed where he'd seen his first big bass. No doubt he had his suspicions there were more where that one came from. It was my pleasure to position the boat. And his to pretty much nail the casts into tiny openings. The man's become a fisherman. A pleasure to watch.
     The big bass were elsewhere but there were a few twelve to fourteen inchers. And a rock bass, for all that's worth.
     We beat the others back to the access. They'd tied into a horde of small northerns and just couldn't leave well enough alone. On the way back Ryan was bit off at the same point where I'd had my line sheared five years earlier. I'm thinking scuba diver or, at the least, a gill man from the Black Lagoon. Either way there's something down there that assures a return trip.
     Back at the access I decided to kill time by stringing up my short, buggy whip fly rod. Remarkably it threw out more than twenty yards of line with ease. Also remarkably I put the rod down before I hurt someone. Most likely me.

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