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It seems too often we fish nowadays like we eat. We want our fishing served up fast food style, neatly packaged and in a hurry. But I had all evening and night. The wife was working, the granddaughter not due in town till tomorrow evening. I hit the river way upstream. Farther than I'd ever been before. It was low but still a bit off color from the recent rains. Right away I caught a small bass and then an even smaller crappie. I'm thinking okay, this is looking good. Then nothing. Nothing for an hour. If anything the water muddied up a bit more. I decided to head closer to home. I drove closer to home then I walked in to a long riffle that's an old friend. I'd probably been here 20 times this year already. Way across the river and downstream I could see the kids. Most of the time I come here I see them somewhere along this stretch of river. The number varies a bit but its usually two to four boys and a girl or two. The first few times I encountered these guys I was a bit apprehensive, after all it's me by myself meeting four teens out in the middle of nowhere. But for the most part they just ignore me. If we meet crossing a riffle we might nod or say hi but other than that we all just pretend the other isn't in "our" spot. One kid always has a seine and a couple more carry fishing rods. With bait fresh out of the river they are deadly on catfish. But I've always seen then release them. A couple times I've caught my line on lines they have broken off. Instead of lead weights they use old bolts and pieces of metal for weight. I've grown pretty fond of these kids that I don't know. After all they are outside living life instead of living thru facebook. Next year or at least the one after that they will all be out in the real world with jobs and car payments. But they will always have this glorious summer, spending all day every day wading and swimming and fishing. Making memories that will last a lifetime. Often Ill see them far off in the evening wading the river on their way home. The guys in swim trunks, the girls in shorts and bikini tops wading into the sunset looking like a scene out of a 1960's beach movie. I think they will have to be better adjusted adults with the memory of their perfect summer. I mean just how bad can a kid be that spends his entire day on the river? On this day they were all using a chute in a riffle as a giant slip and slide. I cut a wide circle around them so as not to intrude and fished the next hole. I caught a pretty nice sauger on a smoke metalflake grub and then switched to a square billed crankbait. I had a solid hit and landed a pretty channel cat. I went to unhook it and to my amazement it wasn't hooked at all. The crankbait was jammed straight up and down in it's mouth but no hooks were stuck in it. I hard a hard time getting the lure out it was jammed in so hard!
On the rivers far bank two bucks in velvet came out close to dark. One froze and watched me fish while the other completely disregarded me. I even caught and landed a couple smallmouth before they finally wandered back into the woods. After the deer left I noticed the the soft blue light of evening had settled on the river, painters light, and the only sound that of water over smooth stones. When I'm old I want to remember this. All of it. Every sound, the cold shock of the water when you first step in, the beauty of minnows scurrying away over moss covered stones. I rummaged around in my pack and found a carton of worms and settled on a rock to watch the coming night creep thru the trees. I wore that hour of sunlight, those fish, the colored clouds, like an old shirt the rest of the night, taking deep solace and comfort from it. Tap, tap, tap, a small catfish took the worm and fought in the determined circling way they have. Then another, then a slightly bigger one. By then full darkness had fallen. Down in the corner of the pack were two firestarters and a lighter. I wandered back up the bank to collect driftwood and ten minutes later had a small fire casting dancing shadows on the bankside trees. I began fishing again and a half hour later another small channel hit the worms. This one I killed and then gutted. I wrapped the fish in foil and placed it on a flat rock placed in the edge of the fire. I settled on a big log down by the river and had a fine supper under a lovely night sky with the moon slipping in and out of the clouds. I sat a long time just enjoying the rivers noise without fishing at all. Still soaking wet from wading I changed into dry clothes and began casting a lipless crankbait from the rockbar. After a bit I had a strong take and the drag sang before the fish was gone. About twenty minutes later a pretty 14 inch smallmouth hit and about a half hour later a decent channel hit the lure. And the rest of the night settled into this pattern. I'd set and watch the river and sky awhile then fish some, catching a few fish sometimes, sometimes not. Bone tired but contented I left for home and bed around dawn.





 

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You write so well it's just plain enjoyable to read, I hope you right a book someday! You ever had anything walk up on you at night like say a **** that smells fresh catfish cooking? By the way did you just eat plain ole catfish or did you season him up a bit? I feel that's the best way to cook fish


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Aquatic Assassin
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This is just plain awesome. Great read.

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Annyong!
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Sometimes when reading your posts OSG I have flashbacks to camping out in the woods behind my parents house and reading Huck Finn for the first time, by the light of a Dietz and wishing I lived near a river.
 

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Well told story!!

We want our fishing served up fast food style, neatly packaged and in a hurry.
That’s very true and there’re so many things that a person will never pick-up on that way.

I’m guessing the water is back up in the “closer to home” area. the last time I was there, there was no chute to use as a giant slip & slide. The green heron wasn’t there either, I enjoyed watching it but I think it has moved along.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
! You ever had anything walk up on you at night like say a **** that smells fresh catfish cooking? By the way did you just eat plain ole catfish or did you season him up a bit? I feel that's the best way to cook fish


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Once my wife and I took a month long backpacking trip in the rockies. We were cooking some trout over the fire out in the middle of nowhere and a martin came in. He would circle camp and peek from behind logs and rocks. He was too scared of us to come too close but the trout smell was driving him wild.

On another trip to the smokies years ago we had a bear in the middle of the night eat a weeks worth of food. It was hung in a tree up off the ground but he was a genius bear I guess and somehow managed to bounce the limb hard enough to flip the sack containing the food off. He left us a big steaming present under the tree the next morning when we went to get our food. We ended up hiking out six miles out and driving twenty to restock. From then on I always bring two ropes and stretch one from tree to tree and hang the food by the other rope off the rope that's stretched from tree to tree. That way your food is just suspended out in midair away from anything a critter can climb on.

as for seasoning I bring along a zip lock with some pepper and cajun seasoning. Trout and little catfish ya don't even need to fillet just gut em and cook em whole.
 

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A night like you describe is what it's all about. And about those kids, you said the important thing. They'll make memories about that summer on the river, sure, but what matters more is the way it is influencing how they grow and what they value. That's not just a memory, it'll be right there with them all their lives, helping determine how they act, how they treat themselves and other people and the whole planet. It matters more than most people think.
 

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It is great to read such a thought out report. I get caught up in the story that I completely disregard the fact there will be pictures at the end. lol
But at the end you always do post nice fish. Kind of like a dessert after a fine meal
 

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Ya know Stinky, I think its pretty cool that you can see a bunch of kids playing in a good riffle and admire them for LIVING instead of being mad at them for being in your way. There are a lot of fishermen out there that forget about everything other than their own selfish desires to catch the most and the biggest fish. I admire you for being out there for much more than that. That was a great read and some nice fish pics to go with it.
 

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Next year or at least the one after that they will all be out in the real world with jobs and car payments. But they will always have this glorious summer, spending all day every day wading and swimming and fishing. Making memories that will last a lifetime. Often Ill see them far off in the evening wading the river on their way home. The guys in swim trunks, the girls in shorts and bikini tops wading into the sunset looking like a scene out of a 1960's beach movie. I think they will have to be better adjusted adults with the memory of their perfect summer. I mean just how bad can a kid be that spends his entire day on the river?
Bravo! This is the best thread I've read in a while
 

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Best report and read of the season, truly envy those beautiful moments you shared that I've seen so much in my life but not nearly enough this year. I felt like I was right there with you! Thanks :)


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Nice read OSG, it sure is nice to see the young people away from the X-boxes and AC enjoying the summer.
 

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OSG, you really know how to soak it all in. You remind me that my life, including my fishing is just rush, rush, rush... Hooray for you being able to slow down and enjoy life. Shame on me for letting it pass by.
 

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I sometimes feel like I am posting the same thing over and over, but it is only because I always read your threads and have to tell you how much I enjoy them. Thanks.


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