by Carol Pinter –

I am not sure if this is what you had in mind, Sarah. It is what the Lord brought to my mind as I reflected on your interesting questions – thank you by the way – I had never really stopped to think about what it is that has held my attraction to fishing for so many years. When my time comes and the Lord calls me home, may they bury me with a fishing rod in my casket with me ( and of course my wacky worm, too)! :))

Why do I fish?

My dad put a fishing pole in my hands before I had a doll in them, and I’ve been enjoying the adventure and joy of discovering new haunts for fish and their unpredictable habits ever since I was about 4 or 5!

I am curious by nature, and I am especially curious and in awe about nature and the many remarkable creatures and creations given to us in nature by Our Creator – what a delightful sense of imagination He has!

In the Spring of the year, my curiosity seems to peak after a long, cold winter of ice on the lake…something New and Fresh comes to life in me when the ice goes out and I see the first tiny minnows begin to hover around the shoreline…Yes, Life is Good once again, it seems, when I see the movement of Life in the waters freed from their icy restraints once again.

Then, within a few weeks into Spring, I become even more excited as the bigger fish start to appear one by one, and I become more eager to get my fishing license and to “wet a line”. However, I am not one of those fisher people who needs to see a fish or try to catch a nearby fish that I can see. I love walking out onto the pier at Shorehaven and casting out my “wacky worm” bait (yes, that is really its name) into the wide open water. And the excitement begins to build as I very slowly reel in the bait, waiting for the “tap, tap, tap” of a “bite” on my line.

There’s even more of a special type of excitement at the Shorehaven shoreline, because the fish there in the Spring are primarily smallmouth bass. Smallmouths or “smallies”- (by universal acclaim of those of us who are ‘fisherpeople’) – will give you more fun, more fight for their size than any other fish I have ever encountered in my 75 years of fishing. They are really spunky and well worth waiting for and “going after” in the Spring.

Opening Day of fishing season – the high holy day for all fisherpersons- is the first week-end in May ( so as not to coincide with Mother’s Day). And by about mid May, the smallmouths have  begun to move in closer to the piers and shallower waters to lay their eggs, and that is when the action really begins. And one needs to get quickly down to the pier, for the action is good for several weeks, and seems to drop off suddenly by the beginning of June, with the increasing boat action around the piers, as the fish head for the deeper water, having dutifully made their deposits of eggs for the next generation of smallmouths.

This Spring, the fish have “been hitting” in an interesting pattern. 2 or 3 usually hit on the first 5 casts and then suddenly the action stops as abruptly as it began. And so far this year, the fish I have caught have been in the larger range, 14-16”- which is really a good sized fish for smallmouth bass. Large mouth bass run bigger and of course northerns and walleyes can show up in really good sizes, but a 14-16” Smallie is a really nice fish by anyone’s standards..

When is the best time to go fishing?

Anytime you are ready to go fishing and have the “itch” is the best time. I have used something called a “solar lunar calendar” which is based on the cycles of the moon and therefore on the “pull of the moon”. These calendars give 4 times of the day that are calculated to be either “major” (best) or “minor” (2nd best) times to catch fish. They also seem to indicate a better chance of catching fish at 2 specific times during the month – during the 2-3 days around the full moon and the 2-3 days of no or new moon.

On Lac La Belle though, I have learned to put aside the solar lunar calendar, for my own experience has taught me that around dusk I tend to have a better chance of catching some fish. And if “the bite isn’t on” (i.e., the fish just aren’t hitting), then you might as well pack up and go home and try another time. And yet this morning (Thursday) before I left for work, I went fishing about 8:30 am – a time at which I normally do NOT fish. I promised myself 5 casts and then I would leave for work. I enjoyed 4 casts into the scenic and relatively calm waters of LaBelle, but nothing was interested…until suddenly a nice 15-16 incher hit on the 5th cast…and I mean “Hit”– boom! – no tap, tap, tap for her!

‘She’ latched on for a delightful surprise and was “off and running” – a fun “battle”, with her burrowing down to the bottom, zigging and zagging, then making longer runs, trying to twist the line under and around the pier … while I was trying to keep her away from getting tangled on the pier and snapping the line — it was sheer joy – for me anyhow – the surprise of the quick and hard bit of a fish always “hooks me”. And then, after the fun of the ‘battle’ was over, and the fish was caught, I released her back into the water, since this is spawning time and the fish tend to be full of spawn…and it’s a good feeling to be part of providing for ‘next year’s catch’.  I watched her dart quickly away – back into the deeper water, and I gave thanks to God for the sheer joy of the fun morning on His beautiful lake.

pinter smallieNot every trip down to the pier with my rod (and anticipation and curiosity) results in catching a fish…but I truly have to say that I have never been disappointed in what our Creator does provide – perhaps a lovely sunset or an interesting cloud pattern or even some comical ducks splashing down near the pier from seemingly out of nowhere and then quacking nosily as they swim away!