Saturday, March 27, 2010

Gone Fishin (no shootin today)

This morning I woke up at about 0230. Don't know why, don't care. I could not go back to sleep so I made myself a breakfast of a couple of scrambled over chorizo (actually mixed together once the chorizo was cooked), a couple of pieces of toast slathered with butter (NO WONDER I AM NOT SHEDDING POUNDS WITH THOSE CARBBS DESPITE MY EXERCISE) and a glass of OJ. Then I got to thinking about what I could do that early and went online to look for somewhere to go. I wound up heading east of Phoenix. I stopped by a Wal-Mart in Mesa, or was it Apache Junction (?) and picked up a one day fishing license and about $60 worth of fishing gear including a Shakespeare rod and reel combo, some hooks, some sinkers, snap swivels, floats, a few lures, and a cup-a-worms. Then I was off to Apache Lake. On the way there I passed Canyon lake and was tempted to stop there to fish but had my heart set on Apache Lake and a boat rental there since someone told me how great fishing was there and because it should be less crowded. Well, on the way there I started to regret I kept going. A 16 mile drive took almost 40 minutes - no traffic - just a twisting and turning and inclining and declining dirt road. Nice scenery though and I really was in no hurry.

I got to Apache Lake at about 0900. I stopped in a small store there and grabbed a couple of candy bars (my weekend treats) and then headed out to rent a boat at the marina. One look at the wind blowing up the waves convinced me I should have stayed at Canyon Lake where it had been much less windy. I decided not to rent the skiff after all and tried to find a place to fish from shore. I found one spot but it was crowded with rowdy and apparently drunk campers. Yep, that was at about 10 AM!. I got out of there and drove further east with no luck. Apache lake has very few spots where you can drive down to the water's edge to go fishing. I turned around and headed back toward canyon Lake at about 1055. By the time I turned around, I was 21 miles from the Canyon Lake Marina. It took me exactly 1 hour to drive back that 21 miles. As I was heading back I noticed there were a lot of people going in the opposite direction from me. It was getting crowded on the road in the other direction. That meant only one thing to me - that since Canyon lake was closer to Phoenix, it would be more crowded than Apache Lake. I headed there anyway. When I got to Tortilla Flats, 2 miles east of Canyon Lake marina, there was a mob there. Bikers, people in cars, and RV'ers. I went to Canyon lake and it was pretty busy too but not mobbed.

I found a spot to fish, wish I could remember the name of the parking area but cannot and I got in a few hours of fishing without a single bite. Then when I was getting disgusted and thinking about leaving in a short while, the rod tip did a little dance and I hooked something. It took line for about 10 seconds then stopped. I could tell it was pretty big, especially for the light weight spinning outfit I was using but that was okay with me. Then it just stopped moving. No tugging no matter how hard I pulled the pole back. I figured I was stuck on the bottom and let out some line then jiggled around the pole end, then let out some more line, then reeled it in and tried to get it free by again shaking the rod left, right, up and down. I walked way to one side of the fishing pier I was on and figured it might come loose, then back the other way, then back to where I had been. No luck. Then I realized something, I had slackened the line but the line was taut again and I had not reeled it in and it kept getting tauter but very slowly. So let out some more line and sure enough it became taut again but I could not reel any in. It was not the current I am almost certain, it was moving against the current and changed direction a couple of times. It seemed too slow to be a big fish but maybe it was a large channel catfish that went down into an underwater crevice or maybe it was a big turtle as in a large snapping turtle or very large softshell turtle (though I cannot imagine a softshell being that slow). Whatever it was, it took about half of my line moving very slowly like that over the course of about 20 to 30 minutes. I was making no headway at all in reeling it in so I snapped the line. The only other thing I think it could have been was a neutrally buoyant piece of driftwood moving in the current but as I said it changed direction a few times. Maybe there were eddies or other things causing current changes under the surface and I was fooled into thinking it was a fish or turtle but it sure seemed as if the line were being drawn out by somehting slow and determined. Whatever it was, it was heavy and I still think it was alive the way it first made the rod tip dance when it got hooked. Oh well, whatever it was is most likely still in the lake unless someone else reeled it in.

After that I headed out and back toward Phoenix. I made a short stop at Goldfield, supposedly a real mining ghost town. It may have once been a mine town and maybe even once was a ghost town but now it is a tourist trap. Not bad though as tourist traps go. It is worth a brief stopover if you are passing it on the Apache Trail.

As for tomorrow - no fishing - but hopefully some shooting and a visit to the outdoor expo at Ben Avery Shooting Facility north of Phoenix.

All the best,
Glenn B