It’s a rare day for me when I get to take a weekend day to do as I please. Most of the time, my days off consist of errands, housework and taking care of the things I don’t have time to do during the work week. This past Friday, Spring presented me with a gorgeous day and a bit more free time than usual…so I went fishing with my stepdad, who is retired and gets to do it all the time, the lucky devil. 🙂 I actually love to fish, but it had been years since I had the chance to do it. I had to reline my rod and dust off the tackle box, making sure everything was in order. Then I had to go get my fishing license current. Then it was off to the lake!
Here in Tennessee, there is an area not far from where I live called Land Between the Lakes. The area is between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake and offers excellent sport fishing for anglers of all walks and ages. But we didn’t go there. Instead, we went to someplace even closer to my home, Swan Lake at Dunbar Cave State Park. I could show you pictures of the cave (which is an impressive natural wonder in and of itself and worthy of its own post) but this post is about fishing. Here are a few of the things we saw that day.
There are many trails through the park which offer natural beauty of their own. This is along one of the trails. It is a man-made drainage falls for when it rains too much but has been there so long that the trees have grown out of the rocks themselves. You can’t tell really well from this picture, but the tree at the left in the background is one such example.
There are numerous wildflowers which grow along the trails, too, although you’re not allowed to pick them. This one was spectacular simply because of its vibrant, neon fuchsia coloring. It reminds me of an orchid, but it isn’t. Can you guess what type of flower it is? 🙂
We tried several places on the lake shore (since you can’t take boats out on this particular lake) looking for a good spot. We were going to fish for both bass and carp, which take two very different kinds of bait and fishing styles. The day alternated between really calm and somewhat breezy, but the temperature stayed a beautiful 72 degrees all day long.
Here is what it looked like when it was calm. Almost like glass, isn’t it? The far side of the lake over there is where the local Grey Herons like to hang out. They are also known as River Herons. I saw one, but wasn’t able to get close enough to it to take a picture, but wow are they cool birds. And with a 5 to 6 foot wingspan, when they glide over water, it is quite the sight to see!
Here is the lake where the wind has picked up a little. That makes it hard to see where the fish are biting, especially combined with shadows from the trees.
We tried a couple of spots and headed for the far side of the lake. Along the way, we saw a sure sign of Spring! 🙂 There was a momma duck and her four ducklings (none of them were ugly) swimming close to shore. The lake has several mated pairs of wild mallards and they are not the least bit afraid of people, despite being wild. We fed a few scraps of bread to the momma here, but couldn’t coax any of the babies up on land. I suspect that mom told them they had better stay hidden in the reeds to escape notice from any predators. But they were SO cute that I had a momentary impulse to scoop one up and cuddle it! (I didn’t, but oh, I wanted to!) 🙂
Speaking of ducks, there was a group of three that decided to make themselves a nuisance to us as we tried to fish. The white one was a terrible pig and gobbled up most of the bread we fed to them. We had to distract her in order to feed the other two, which were males. I found the black mallard in particular to be especially neat-looking. So pretty! My camera phone doesn’t do justice to any of them, really.
I swear, they were like Pavlovian Ducks! They heard the crinkle of the bread bag plastic and came swimming over as fast as they could, rushing to get on shore to get fed! We were using home-made dough-ball for the carp (which are not great eating but a helluva fight and a beautiful gold and black color).
(As an aside, we would never eat anything out of this lake, due to chemical run-off from the adjacent golf-course. It has caused the algae bloom on top of the lake to explode, creating great cover for bass, but also creating toxic-to-eat fish. The lake is also fed from a natural spring below the cave, so it does have a fresh water source every day).
Anyway, the ducks kept swimming across the fishing lines, making it impossible to catch anything until they went away. They finally left us alone after we convinced them that there wasn’t any more bread!
We didn’t catch anything, but enjoyed the peace and quiet and time spent outdoors and good conversation, of course. If you have a fishing buddy, it’s important that they are either: A) a good conversationalist or B) they know how to shut up and just “be”, in order to let you think. If your fishing buddy is neither of these…get a new buddy or go fishing alone…lol. 🙂 As the shadows grew long, we decided to reluctantly head home. It was nice to get back to nature and enjoy the simplicity of just being outside and away from all the distractions and responsibilities of modern life.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” ~ Ancient Chinese Proverb
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“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you give him the ability to feed his soul and spirit for a lifetime of communing with nature.” ~ My version 😉