Sunday, October 04, 2009

Eating The Bait

Midwest Producer
9-11-2009 Edition

September is my favorite month of the year; that is until October arrives on the scene. The farm sort of goes into a holding pattern while we wait for crop maturity to get here. It affords the opportunity to do things you’ve put off all summer, like fishing. We wanted to go fishing this afternoon so after church we hustled home and hooked the boat onto to the Chevy and headed for the levee. (Sorry, I just about broke into song there) The pontoon boat that we purchased last winter didn’t have a depth finder and that explains why we hadn’t caught any fish the first few times we had the boat in the water. Any self respecting fisherman is aware that you must know the depth of the water before making a good presentation of the bait. Presentation in food is everything, right? I know I heard Julia Childs say that back in her days and I’m sure it also applies to catfish.
We had zero fish to show for our first two times out and that only served to validate my need for a trip to Cabelas for a depth finder. I didn’t need anything fancy. I just wanted to know the depth and I wasn’t planning on trying to find sunken treasure boats or the Titanic. “The cheapest one you’ve got will do me just fine, I already know how to fish.” I said smugly. The man wanted to sell me one with GPS and mapping capabilities so I could easily return to a new found hot spot any time I needed to. “Nope,” I told him “I’ll just paint an X in the bottom of the boat if I have a need to mark the spot. No sense of humor for this guy. I bought the cheap one.
Well I must say it was a pretty nifty installation I performed yesterday and it worked flawlessly. I proudly pronounced that we had eight feet of water right behind the boat as we pulled away from the dock. We hit 18 feet and I shut the motor down and gave the command to drop anchor. As Marilyn sighed she said, “I suppose you want me to do that” as she went to the front to ease the anchor down into the water, she asked if this was the depth we were looking for. “Yep this should be perfect.” I was confident, I am the Captain after all.
I repeated those same words over and over throughout the afternoon as we tried 12 feet and 22 and eight and everything in between. We used worms and chicken livers as well as commercial prepared bait and not to mention a feather covered varmint from the bottom of my tackle box. We anchored some. We drifted some. Not a nibble.
Before long I had yielded to the temptation of that big couch across the back of the boat. I stretched out and before falling asleep in that crisp autumn air; I explained the big mistake we had made to my still eagerly fishing wife. “Catfish will bite on chicken livers and night crawlers but we should have brought bait shrimp along too, they love shrimp.
“But we didn’t have any bait shrimp at home,” she replied. I said, “No but we have that two pound package of ‘people shrimp’ in the freezer, the ones we’ve been saving for something special.” “We could have dipped one of those shrimp in the lake to find out that the catfish weren’t biting and dipped the rest of them in cocktail sauce.”
We now have a plan for next time and I’ll bet we won’t care how deep the water is.


Gette said...

Just don't goof up and grab the leeches...

Shannon said...


Wow, I can't imagine the hubs being here for September at all.....ever (as long as we are growing corn). I hope corn and beans don't overlap this year. I am TIRED!

Marc said...

It is time I went fishing again.

You don't get much fishing time when you work the hours that I had to. Vacations were real Vacations, like Hawaii, or Australia where they can't find you. I should have been a farmer.

I am retired now, so I have an excuse to buy new tackle. Also since the rotten 40 yr old stuff was worthless and got tossed. Lots of new bait caster reels now Woo Hoo. Cool rods, Carbon Fiber! Wooo Hooo!

A fishing trip is definitely in my future.

EV said...

That was a fun outting; thanx for letting us tag along. The trip for the depth finder was fun, too. Albeit, I'm a bells and whistles guy.

LZ Blogger said...

Cliff ~ You meant Mizzou RIGHT? :-)
Actually a good friend of mine from the Bay area in NO. CA. who's wife just happens to be a grad of Mizzou and she was just mercyless on me last year about that QB (Chase Daniel) of theirs. What a sissy he was! What he can't take a little spit? But I think he made it up. Doesn't sound like NU sportmanship to me. Even if he did put it to us! Oh well... this is a different year! "GO BIG RED!" ~ jb///

Jerry in Indiana said...

Hey Cliff,
Someday I'd like to get out on that boat with you and Ralph and the wives. Sounds like a hoot.

Jim said...
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Jim said...
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Jim said...

This is good, Cliff. It was in the Messenger a bit ago?
I do think you should blame the whole mess on Global Warming. How is your water temperature coming. Seems at the lake with Ralph you guys only caught one fish.

Or you could import some of our Texas tropical fish to get them started up there. We even have tropical catfish in our tepid waters.

Dave, of ABC GMA, is talking Omaha this morning. His talk will be 'Where's the Beef?"
What is going on up there to get that kind of attentions?
Got it better, finally.

Rachel said...

I like that song you were about to break into Cliff!! Sorry you didn't catch any fish, even after buying a depth finder. Seems you went at a time when the fish just weren't hungry.

I think a nap on the boat was probably as enjoyable as anything! That sounds really relaxing to me!

Ralph said...

Man, I did something like that just a few weeks ago. Didn't catch many fish but we sure ate well.

Lanny said...

What a great idea, sharing your dinner with your dinner.

gel said...

mmm Shrimp and Fall days.
Enjoyed your post and glad your family is doing well.
(Happy belated anniversary to you and Marilyn.)

Granny Annie said...

Very informative post -- we didn't know there was anything "cheap" at Cabelas!

Yes people shrimp is important for fishing trips and just dip them in a pitcher of bloody marys until you need them for the cat fish. (Spouse doesn't drink so I have to on those rare occasions.)

nora said...

Napping - and some of Annie's Bloody Marys sound great! Count me in!