Even though most of the United States is in drought northern Minnesota is doing fine. Enough rain so that the forestry roads can be hit or miss. Where we were going today was at the bottom of the pecking order as far as Minimum Maintenance - Travel at Your Own Risk, roads go. Back when I was driving a Jeep, road conditions were no concern. But now, with front wheel drive, I give it some serious thought. Mostly the concern is ground clearance and tires. The rocks left by glaciers weren't dropped with much consideration for the hundred dollar tires that were coming. Or unprotected oil pans for that matter. Mother nature could have dropped them smooth side down But no, razors to the sky. Those things weigh heavy on my mind when two track sand turns into eroded glacial till. Not so much that I'm cheap, which I am, but more that being stranded in an inconvenient location is a pain in the ass.
So those were the thoughts running through my head when we passed the landfill on the way in and were approaching the always angry hound running down the two track driveway. Slow and easy. Say it again and again. Slow and easy. But don't just say it, do it. And see all the rocks. Keep to the high ground. No matter how slow, it's much faster than doin' a four mile portage.
Again it was suntan weather. Mid-day. Only Englishmen fish under those conditions. In tweeds to salmon that have no interest in eating. But we knew where the bass and sunnies could still be caught and that's where we were heading. The idea being Jake at one end of the line, fish at the other.
Two things: the trail to the lake is poison ivy lined. Jake likes to run around and explore. Not a good combination. I've never reacted to poison ivy. Been through it many a time and never had a problem.That isn't so for everybody. Jake carries a little bit of my blood but that doesn't mean he wouldn't swell up like a balloon and fester eternally. So he was warned. Loudly and often, like we really meant it.
Again, Ryan made Jakob carry a load. Not a big one unless you factor in relativity. Jake, for his part, didn't squawk. He did grunt a bit however. To me, that was a good sign. The grunts carry the world. Hopefully Jakob will always carry his share in a somewhat useful direction.
The jon boat was another story. Even though part of its intention was to be dragged it into small, remote lakes, I doubt the instructions said anything about the effort involved. She don't carry like a canoe laddie. We had a choice, one at each end or drag the bugger. Tried both. Carrying turned out to be a drag. Dragging wasn't much better. One of these days someone will have to invent the wheel. Even if they never do, me and Ryan won't complain a bit. Not manly don't ya know.
We worked the shallows. Not a problem for this lake has a lot of shallows. So much so, a first look will have you wondering how it could hold any fish at all. But it surely does. And high numbers in crystal clear, foot deep water where the fish can see you for fifty yards. Gotta be quiet and move only when necessary.
There were a few bass to be found but it was mostly sunnies. Jake found the bluegills to his liking until he realized they weren't as big as the bass. Guess even when you're six years old size matters.
What I learned was that a dark green metal boat with dark green metal seats can sear a butt. Standing up was a short relief from the frying pan but also an opportunity for the sun to to relight the burner. Jake solved the matter by standing up most of the time. Sure couldn't blame him for that. Seein' as how he's a slim kid he could move around all he wanted and not rock the boat.
Outside of the panfish it was a slow late morning and early afternoon. We worked half the lake's shoreline and made a few passes over the middle where the drop off holds thickets of cabbage. Yeah, the kid brought a few bass to the boat. And a whole lot of sunnies. But he was spoiled to the charms of bobber watching. At least as far as the nibblers went. He was lookin' for slam, bang, run with the thing.
And demanding. Like it was my fault we weren't catching any four pounders. Not like he was saying it exactly. But his continual mantra of "I wanna catch bass. I wanna catch bass," had me thinking it was my fault. Like I could do something about it. Give me a break kid. Next time we'll try it in June, after supper and you better be ready to hold onto your rod 'cause they're bigger than you realize. Lots bigger.
Truly, the only thing we did wrong was stay on the water too long. We had snacks, and they melted. We had water, and it was body temperature. Even though we used ample sun screen, we left the water glowing. Like janitors at a nuclear melt down. But it was a hoot. Jake got a taste for what fishing can be. And an assurance that it can be better. Stuff to dream about over the winter. Don't know if he will. But I will. Always have.
Dinner was at the best down south barbecue in the northwoods which just happens to be in Pine River. Name of No. 19. The pulled pork sandwich is worth its weight in lead free jigs. Seriously unhealthy, good eatin'. Jakob wasn't too happy with the place 'cause he had his teeth set on a chocolate ice cream cone at Dairy Queen. Both Ryan and I kept telling him it was on the list of things to do but he was of little faith. Yeah, he got his cone. And moaned his way through it. Not bad for a kid who likes his hamburgers plain. Meat and bun. Nothin' else.