Jul 14, 2011

I Say the First Rule is THAT Man Goes Last

It seems we learn something every year. In the first year, we learned where they hide the boat ramp key. In year two we learned exactly how much ice is required to keep two kegs cold  (and outdoors) for a weekend. Hint: it takes a lot. During year three we Todd painfully discovered exactly how weak the dock was. Last year we were finally figuring out how to catch fish from Lake Delavan. And in this fifth anniversary year, we may have finally mastered the Toothless Beaver Adventure. The only near catastrophe involved a golf cart accident and a bruised noggin... nothing serious.

Consumption was up, driving was down, fishing was improved and instances of "food poisoning" held steady. Some may say the beer selection was a little heavy on Corona, but I think we were only doing our part to support the citrus trade...you know, during these difficult times US citizens have to pull together. To solidify our neighborliness with the folks of Florida, this years selection also featured a strong presence of Lightening Lemonade. My cans always emptied too fast and I've lodged a complaint with Mr. Jeremiah Weed himself. He has assured me the next batch should have fewer holes.

Somehow, and only very slightly, we got some fishing in. Bassin' was pretty much average, with a few fish in the two pound range on Powerworms and poppers...plus one much larger fish, but more on that later....

Instead of stuffing rubber worms down the throat of difficult fish, we actually paid attention to the lake and caught a bunch of bluegills. We found them hanging out in 10-12 feet of water near a weed line. Here they gobbled up night-crawlers indiscriminately for a couple hours at a time.

When the gills were eating, they were doing so with vigor. Every morning saw about two hours of strong action. The kind of action that makes you bored if nothing happens for thirty seconds. After a minute we'd check the worm, and usually need a replacement. As with most hot bites, it went dead as quick as a blink. Luckily this usually happened just in time for fried eggs and a breakfast beer.

We held a couple "fillet fests" on the deck, and wound up with an undisclosed amount of bluegill meat. The quantity of fillets was sufficient to supply the crew with one lunch and take home many more. Somewhere in Illinois, a large family with big men ate well on fresh caught fish.

A good fish fry was the key ingredient we've always missed. Fish with deep fried onions, mushrooms and pickles was the perfect combination to fill our stomachs and the toilet...in that order. Even Tom admitted it tasted good and took his turn on a pot.

As I mentioned, the bass bite was slow, but it wasn't totally dead. While my boat focused mostly on the gills, Scott's boat the S.S. Smelly Muskrat was in the slop seeking largemouth.

The mornings saw a decent topwater bass bite near the spillway and a few fish were taken there with poppers. As the surface action subsided, rubber worms and spinners were key. This method took a few fish in the shallows and a few more fish in 10-12 foot of water. I don't believe any fish were taken on crankbaits, but I can't be entirely sure.

Once again, I took top honors in the big bass competition. Certainly, my esteemed readers would expect nothing less. Maybe next year I'll convince everyone to actually bet money.

Friday, while watching my bobber bob, boredom struck and I cast a ten inch Powerworm to the bottom. A couple ticks later and the four pounder shown at right was pulling drag. T'weren't as big as the five pound bass from last year, but a good fish is a good fish and it was plenty big to get the juices pumping. Four pound bass don't touch my hand as often as I'd like.

The highlight of the trip was spending time with the neighbor, Doug, on our final night. He is one of six locals who spends 365 days at the lake. Doug lived an exciting life full of bar fights, rodeo and women. Finally settling down with Dawn on the lake fifteen years ago was the end of his craziness, but the guy still lives the dream. We cranked some old-timey twang on his jukebox, sipped beers and listened to the stories. He was especially glad to have a sounding board for complaints about the Chicago [expletive redacted] who overrun his paradise every weekend. We never mustered the courage to tell him we're not exactly "country folk like him," but we sympathized about the $800 fine levied by the homeowners' association for his propensity to trim trees.

As a whole, this year was pretty mellow. Maybe we're getting old or maybe we've finally learned to lay off anything served in a shot glass. Either way, the trip is getting legs and starting to run. With fun like this, we may have to consider two trips per year.

Stay tuned, we've already discussed some improvements for later this year next year.


  1. Good read Clifie. Well all except the part about the complaints from the bull toad about Chicago. If you've ever lived in the city during the summer you'd understand how necessary it is to flee to water when you can. Sounds like a great time.

  2. i feel the same way about washingtonians.


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