When it's 100 degrees with 90% humidity (or worse), and when you are just recovering from a nasty drought, you gladly welcome all the rain you can get. Now actually wanting to go out and work in it might classify me as nutty, but I love it. It's one of the best highs for me.
Ever fish in it?
Had an interesting trip to the river last night. My son and I had been planning to go since about Wednesday. Yesterday, I made up some set lines to take along...we were figuring on setting those, then doing some rod and reel fishing and checking the sets periodically through the night. Earlier in the day, my son had went to a nearby lake and caught bluegills for bait. I was busy tending them and getting things ready all morning.
My son was about a half hour late in returning for departure time, but when he arrived we made a last minute check and set out on the hour long drive to the river. We got to the river and readied to launch the boat, and I noticed that one of my seats had come unfastened and was missing. Somewhere back along the road is about 60 dollars worth of vinyl and aluminum. Oh well...I've had more expensive mishaps in the hobby.
Launch the boat, and notice the river is just JUMPING with shad. That hasn't been the case in my last few trips down there, and was the reason for obtaining the bluegills...which had survived the trip quite nicely in my 40 gallon baitwell. Threw my cast net a couple times, and caught about 2 dozen nice 5 inch shad, added them to the baitwell and headed upriver. Oh yeah...after noticeing that we had left the setlines back home, leaning up against the tree where I had placed them in plain sight so they wouldn't be forgotten.
The river was extremely low. The portion of the Kaskaskia that I fish on trips like this, is wild river...never channelized, it winds around like a snake and is filled with snags and sandbars. Navigating it is like navigating the old Mississippi of Twain's descriptions. Being able to read the water surface is a must. The dephfinder shows stuff too late to be really useful. The upshot of that is that a boat ride upriver to where I fish that usually takes an hour, took 2 hours or more. Not all of that was riding though...some time was consumed getting the boat off snags where it had become stuck fast. A low river is often a river with little current....and current is the medium that translates underwater obstructions into information accesible to this ol' river pilot.
Meanwhile the sky became more menacing. Not only that, but the tardiness of my son and the slowness of the boat ride conspired to insure that dark was already falling and we had yet to reach "Blue Hole". Using spotlights to illuminate the maze of the river, attracted the most incredible multitudes of bugs. It actually became difficult to breathe, without inhaling some.
Pitch dark relieved by brilliant lightning upon finally arriving at Blue Hole. We decided that we should wait out the storm before trying to fish. I HATE being exposed to lightning...guilty conscience perhaps...but we were too far upriver to go back and had little choice but to climb about halfway up a steep sandbar and stay low to a high ridge of sand....going up further into the trees on that high point didn't seem like a good idea to me.
The lightning was SPECTACULAR! I could have appreciated it more though, from a different vantage point. For awhile it seemed the storm would track NW of our position, but it didn't. Before long we were in the midst of lightning reminiscent of a B monster movie, and enough thunder rolling and echoing up and down the steep river banks that it made talking difficult.
Then the rain came down in buckets. My son had brought a poncho, and it was big enough for us to share if we sat closely together. So there we were, sitting like Siamese twin indians, and realizing that there was likely as much water running under the poncho... courtesy of the steep sandbar...as was being shed by our humble shelter.
At last the rain diminished and the lightning show was receeding into the distance, the thunder ebbing to celestial rumblings. Now came the plague of mosquitoes. Apparently maddened by the storm, they came in wave after wave...thirsting for blood and demonstrating the true meaning of demonical persistance.
We went down to the boat for insect repellent, and I cast two rods...one baited with blugill and the other with shad. I set the baitclickers so I wouldn't lose the rods to a large fish....because it was becoming obvious that we were in for an encore presentation of the River's "I'll Show You Impressive, You Insignificant Boat Steerer".
Back under the poncho. More wet ass. This time the storm didn't last as long....though the pyrotechnics were every bit the equal of the first.
Back down to the boat at the conclusion of the performance. Enough silty mud had run down the sandbar, that traversing the last few yards to the boat necessitated wading a boot-sucking bog of muck. I am dreading going out to clean the boat today.
We took stock of our situation. The bait was mainly dead. Apparently, the notoriously fragile shad had expired, and induced the normally hardy blugill to abandon all hope. Dead bait is no good. I unceremoniously delivered the carcasses to the attentions of whatever turtles or other scavengers might appreciate the bounty.
Both lines I had cast out earlier had been hit. The bluegill baited one had been carried upriver and was empty of either bait or gamefish. The shad baited one had a large gar aboard when I reeled it in....likely the culprit who carried the other upriver. I cut the line about five feet about the gar. Usually I unhook them, but I've been bitten by them in the process on some nights, and had no doubt that this would be one of those nights.
My son and I didn't need to consult one another....I fired up the trusty Nissan and steered a course downriver. Brilliant visions of fifty pound blue cats faded to dimly remembered dreams.
The River Gods had been appeased by our suffering and the sacrifice of our entire stock of bait. Mercifully, they had recalled their legions of bugs...though they did send some fog to insure that the ride back downriver to the boat ramp wasn't TOO boring. Praise be to the River Gods.
I missed the trailer, first shot at driving the boat on. Never happened before, but it did this time. It isn't real easy to get my boat off the side bunks of the trailer. At least that provided some amusement to the two old time river rats who had the sense to wait the storms out from the safety of their truck and were now preparing to go out and check their own lines. Hah! We had took note of all their lines on our trip back downriver, and I gladly informed them that there wasn't a fish in evidence on any of them.
We set out for home, burdened with mud, sand and soggy clothes.
There is an all night Quick Stop about 8 miles from the ramp, and I always stop there to get a cup of coffee for the ride home.
I suppose this brings me to the point.
I entered the establishment. The stalwart, goateed lad behind the counter....having keenly observed the boat behind my truck, but being remarkably obtuse regarding my own mud shrouded appearance...asked in a most cheerful and annoying manner: "Been fishing?"
"Not really," I replied as I made my way to the rear of the store where I knew the life giving, Aztec nectar waited to wrap its steamy tendrils around the demoralized fiber of my being.
Or rather...where it normally waited.
Where it had always waited before.
But where now.....NOW, when I have great need....
I'm afraid the remainder of the piece would have required too heavy of editing for this forum.