Welcome to Panfish

Part Twelve


"Panfish Heyday"
By Randy Fratzke

With all of the rain we've had this year, it's been a while since I've been able to even get close to the river bank. The front lawn went under water May 10th and just reappeared June 5th. Considering the phenomenal fishing we had around here this spring, it's been a pretty frustrating summer so far. So when the neighbors started catching monster blue gills at the dock I couldn't wait to get in on the action.

Getting to the shore line was a major undertaking. With the crop of mosquitoes we have this year, it's a good thing I've put on a little extra weight or they would have carried me off. I figure I loose about a pint of blood on each outing, even with the strongest spray I can find and wearing long sleeve shirts and pants. The front yard down to the river is one giant mud hole...great for mud wrestling, but I just wanted to get across it, not actually sit in it (which has only happened a few times.) Even though everything was under water for almost 2 months, everything continued to grow, so finding the new shoreline was a bit of "hunt and poke". And there are plenty of "critters" that need to find new homes...ones without legs that like to lay in the long, damp grass.

Once I got to the shore line my attitude changed immensely. Rings of rising fish were everywhere. The damsel flies, large and small, dragon flies, stone flies, and fish flies were all hatching and the fish were feasting on anything that was on the water! Easy pickings, and lots of choices. I would have thought that with all of the high water the fish would have gorged on all kinds of treat not normally available, but they were acting as if they'd been starved for 2 months. Between swatting flies and mosquitoes I managed to tie on my favorite top water dry. I've mentioned it before, it's a Royal Coachman I tie in white instead of the normal red on a #6 to 14 hook. I call it an Albino Coachman. The fish call it candy.

For about an hour I fought the black flies, the mosquitoes, and the horse flies and caught more Blue Gills, Crappies and Small Mouth Bass than I think I ever have in an hour. But the bugs had bested me. I was chewed and bitten everywhere imaginable (and a few where I didn't think they could ever get to....). I had a bucket of fish and a smile on my face when I walked back into the cabin. The smile quickly faded when my wife announced that I was not cleaning all of those fish in her new kitchen, regardless of how bad the bugs were outside.... I guess there is a flip side to renovation and remodeling!

~ Randy Fratzke

Panfish Part 1 | Panfish Part 2 | Panfish Part 3 | Panfish Part 4 | Panfish Part 5 | Panfish Part 6 | Panfish Part 7 | Panfish Part 8 | Panfish Part 9 | Panfish Part10| Panfish Part 11 |

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