Stray Casts: Major reorganizing is needed for fishing trips this summer

It was a time to go bass fishing.

The problem was, the Stray Caster did not foresee that his efforts would almost, but not quite, be as amusing to an observer as the tale once told by Stephen Leacock.

Being Canadian and an angler, everyone remembers that much loved tale. A bunch of guys get together on a Saturday night and get inspired to go bass fishing. The tales start to flow, about how they left the bait behind (Leacock notes that such a remark leaves a perfect opportunity for someone to point out the whiskey is never forgotten, but that was another age).

In any case, the men spend half the night talking, the other half sipping rye, and conclude that an early morning start is optimum for great bass fishing. The next morning, not a soul stirred in the village until after 10am. The whiskey they had been sipping, plus the late night, had seen to that.

The Stray Caster does not drink much these days, and with a Sunday trip coming with fishing companions Hellene and Matthew-Adam, he was up and finishing breakfast at the perfectly sane hour of, oh, 9:30am. Hey, the Stray Caster rises early only for trout and walleye, despite not drinking much.

When it came to loading gear, there was a profusion of confusion. The rods and reels were readily available, but, search high and low, as he did, the Stray Caster failed utterly to find any jig heads for his tubes. Tube jigging is one of the most effective bass baits the Stray Caster has ever tried. So, after finally finding a few salted tubes and no jig heads at all, the Stray Caster headed for a local hardware store.

Here is where the tale gets interesting – and frustrating. The Stray Caster reached the fishing section and found a couple of packages of tube jigs. Fine. Then, he started looking for jig heads. Without his reading glasses, it seemed futile, but the Stray Caster persisted. Finally, two young workers came down the aisle, and he soon had them both hunting. They searched, and finally one of them decided to look on the computer to see if there were any in the store.

There were not.

The Stray Caster, polite as always under difficult circumstance (it was now getting on towards 11am), wondered why a store would sell half a bait. The tube, without the jig head, is not much good. It was but a short drive to Guelph and that American store that features much service, and the Stray Caster had all the tube jigs and jig heads he could use. More choice, too.

The tale leaves the Stray Caster wondering a couple of things. But, first, he is going to blame himself. His fishing gear is in a sorely scattered state at the moment, and it will take a good Sunday afternoon of work to put it into some semblance of order. When that occurs, he firmly believes that all manner of tube jigs and jig heads will be found, along with all kinds of other baits. It is truly amazing how quickly fishing tackle can get scattered in a crowded basement.

The kids did not complain at the long delay, and we finally hit the water at that perfect hour of about 11:30am. It was hot, the water was low, there were no fish hitting, and, although the Stray Caster very carefully did not admit to it, one did smash through a shallow section and hit when his reactions to a strike were so slow a minnow could have escaped, as did the bass.

The kids, though, had a ball. There were huge numbers of tadpoles, huge numbers of crayfish, and, of course, all bass anglers know that tube jigs do an excellent imitation of crayfish. Hellene noted there were large numbers of pollywogs swimming near her spot on the river.

That means frogs, and we can see that on other occasions, tha place on the river that we found will be excellent for bass fishing. After we finally ran out of time, the Stray Caster and the kids visited the top of the bridge and were again assured there are some large fish there. Carp, some running to about eight pounds, were swimming around in the shallows. There were also some very large and sluggish bass sunning them­selves in the shallows. Perhaps top walkers?

In any case, the Stray Caster and the kids stopped at a number of bridges along the back roads to check conditions, and we saw more bass, and more carp.

The Stray Caster expects to tie into some of each, and hopes Matthew-Adam and Hellene will do likewise this summer.

And where were those large fish? Well, you drive from Elora to … ah, we just ran out of space. Sorry about that.