Darkest Before the Dawn
by: Jim McFarland 3/10/2018
An old adage I know, but darkest before the dawn is highly appropriate here. It’s been a fairly rough week, had some personal things pop up at the home front that were unexpected and not welcome. Then there were some shenanigans happen at work that were equally upsetting. Nothing of real concern on any of those accounts but as things usually do, they accumulate and seem larger than they are. With things weighing on my mind I decided I needed some time away from work so I took Thursday and Friday off. Thursday was consumed with Dr appointments and errands so not much of a boon there. So, plans for Friday were laid and at 3 AM simply couldn’t sleep any longer but had to wait until 4 AM before my trek began.
It seemed my lack of good luck was continuing Friday morning, waking up too early and then on the trek to the lake the only thing open at 4 AM it seems is convenience stores, so no breakfast sandwich or burrito to help warm me against the chill. Onward goes the journey arriving at 5:45 AM at the lake. The sun was just beginning to think about waking up in the east and the water was pretty calm. There were some really nice fish already rising and I thought it a good omen. Normally it takes me a while to get started fishing as the rods need to be threaded and lures tied on since the rods are usually stored in a rod locker for travel. But since I was alone, the rods were pre-rigged the night before. Cannot tell you how high the anticipation was heading toward the lake and making my first casts.
This is when Murphy’s Law set in. About 10 minutes into fishing a couple of vehicles pull up and park next to my little Honda and 4 guys and a dog get out. The dog was already barking and I envisioned hell to follow with noise all morning. Well the dog quickly settled but the 4 guys were teams of two and they proceeded to set up their stations immediately to the left and right of me. With them looking at me I cast past them on both sides of me, thinking they would get the hint that they were setting up on water I was currently fishing. But that was not the case, they continued and pounded in some rod holders and got their chairs and cast their power bait right into my area. Since I was already in a bit of a foul mood I bit my tongue and moved. Knowing had I made any comment, no matter how “helpful” it may have seemed to me. The situation probably would have escalated and quite frankly, it just isn’t worth it. Apparently, that was “their” spot since the rest of the lake was open at that time.
So, I moved to an area that was very rocky and challenging to get to. Especially for a fat out of shape guy like me. My toes were pretty much in the water as I stood on the bank and the ground behind me rose almost vertically making it a challenge to cast. Especially with my old moderate action medium power GL2 casting rod. Should mention, earlier I had on a Dynamic JSpec and on my other rod a small swim bait which neither of got bit. With the water temp around 36 or 37 I selected a lure that has always been good to me. A large blue and silver Krocodile and let her fly. My attitude was already stinking and figured that after being pushed off my spot it was going to be a bad day. But low and behold within a few casts a bite! But, thought I’d missed it since there wasn’t any struggle.. well a little struggle, weeds? Nope caught a little snub-nosed bow that was barely larger than the lure. After a quick release went back to work and a big hit! It’s a good one and I have it within 10 feet of shore. It fighting like crazy, turning, jumping and twisting, my excitement skyrockets, and then? Yep, unbuttoned. Right after I hook another fish and land it, not a stocker but nothing like the one I just lost. My optimism rises but it seems the bite has now died.
Moving precariously along the shore I go down about 50 yards start working some new water for a few minutes and then start fishing my way back to the spot where I caught the others. About half way in between a MASSIVE strike. The rod is more than doubled over and drag is screaming. While that’s awesome, what’s bad is where I’m at. I’m on a very small rock about 15 feet above the water and the rest is that loose dirt you slide on if you step on it. This fish is doing a great job of trying to pull me off this rock and into the lake and a few times I thought it was going to be successful. I managed to hold the rod and carefully make my way back to my original spot. Did I mention this fish pulled some serious drag? Lol Don’t know how long we fought, everything was happening fast and was exciting. When the beast was finally landed it was pretty darn tired. I quickly took a couple pics (bad ones) and measurement (27.75 inches) and revived her and sent her on her way.
The bite had died again, so I changed rods and downsized to a red and white Kastmaster. That seemed to be the trick as I landed yet another potbellied bow, 20” and would have to guess around 5 lb with the gut she has. At least for this fish, got some great pics! Right after releasing her caught another beauty! The last two fish were so large this one left me a little unimpressed until I looked at the pic closer. A male and he’s developing a hook jaw, what a day when a fish this nice leaves you a little disappointed.
In closing, I want to thank the anglers for surrounding me and pushing me off my spot, otherwise I probably would never have caught those fish. Taking some time off and having a day just for myself was just what was needed. Days like this don’t come often and when they do, they’re to be treasured. If you’re having a rough patch like I was, maybe you should take a day just for yourself and discover it is darkest before the dawn.
Blog content © Jim McFarland
bron, CO 3/10/2018 6:20:18 PM
That one is a serious football Jim! Great read and pics. Werent you in MA territory with the 27" one?
fargingicehole, CO 3/10/2018 9:22:05 PM
evad, CO 3/12/2018 12:31:25 PM
Great story Jim,
You have to share it with us at the next LFC meeting.
evad, CO 3/12/2018 12:49:08 PM
Oops wrong Jim, still a great story.
Kev-o, CO 3/12/2018 4:10:09 PM
Very good blog Jim. Sometimes getting away from your problems and giving yourself some time to think and sorts things out helps recharge the batteries. Catching a bunch of fat trout never hurts matters either.
yard dogs, CO 3/12/2018 4:24:58 PM
Couldn't agree more man - whenever I am stressed or down a day of fishing is the ticket to a better outlook.
FISHRANGLER, CO 3/12/2018 6:24:34 PM
Hope you have many more days like that
Jim McFarland (anglerwannabe), CO 3/12/2018 6:28:07 PM
thank you guys! Was a memorable day for sure. Should have mentioned, left the gopro at home too. lol the 2 largest trout I've caught this Bow and the Brown I made a replica of... no gopro.. Does that mean.. don take it in the future? lol