As any die-hard fisherman will tell you, there’s no set limit to the number of fishing poles and fishing lures that are absolutely necessary. Right now, it’s early May in Georgia, and that means only one thing to freshwater anglers. The next half dozen or so weekends are already spoken for. The bass are on their beds, daring us to take our best shot. The seagulls and loons are just about pointing out stripers to us, or more accurately, scooping up the baitfish that the stripers are driving to the surface. The trout are actively rising to spring hatches. Match the hatch and every fly you cast meets with instant success. Life is good indeed for spring fishermen. Throw in glorious, warm spring days when the whole world seems to be coming alive, and no one could deny – This is paradise. It just doesn’t get any better.
But back to the opening statement. How much fishing equipment is actually necessary to party in paradise? It very much depends on who you ask. My wife doesn’t begrudge my spring flings because she knows how much I enjoy them, but she can’t understand how anyone could need more than one fishing pole and a few hooks. Trying to explain how every one of my twelve or fifteen poles serves a different purposes and how every lure in my four tackle boxes performs a different task is like explaining calculus to a five-year-old. Not only is she bored but she just doesn’t see the need for it.
A few weekends ago, Erica and I drove up to our lake house on Lake Hartwell. I spent all of Saturday de-winterizing my boat and preparing it for launch. Even though I couldn’t wait to get out on the water, Sunday was Easter. We decided to go to the little church nearby that several of our neighbors attended. As luck would have it, after the service one of those neighbors came up to me and said, “Gary, I want to introduce you to one of our members named Ron. Do you know that he’s a former Bass Masters Classic competitor?” This is a little like introducing a tennis fan to Roger Federer, so I was pretty excited. I’m not sure how long Ron and I talked, but eventually I caught Erica giving me the head nod as if to say, “Let’s go before they close the church doors on us.” Ron graciously invited me to his house. He wanted to show me a special lead and soft plastic jig that he had just developed. It had a bonnet between the jig head and the body that gave it a special swimming action that imitated a shad or a blue-back herring, the favorite food for bass and stripers in our lake. Of course, I absolutely had to have a dozen or so of these marvels. Since there was no room in my four tackle boxes, I decided to start a fifth box. I’m calling this box my “Hartwell Wonders” box. Ron promised to guide me toward another half dozen creations, most of them his own design that work well on Hartwell. Of course, Erica thinks they are just more fancy hooks, but we fishermen know better.
As promised, here is a great recipe from Cooking.com! Beer Battered Fish Tacos!
Enjoy and have a great weekend!