A busman’s holiday on the water

It is a prime time to be on the water. Last week, l actually took a day off from my busy spring fishing season … to go fishing.

It was truly a “busman’s holiday,” as l had a couple of old friends along for company. Fortunately, they were along for the ride as well. We managed to pack over a century of combined professional experience in one single boat.

There is a common perception that most folks have about fishing guides, and about guides in general. It has often been expressed as, “Oh man, you got it made! You fish all day, and get paid for it. What a sweet deal.”

And some days, it actually is.

But just like any job, there is a lot of preparation, studying, scouting and no short order of bugs, beginners, BSers, left-behinders and the ever-popular Besters, who use, eat, drink, do and go nowhere but the best. They are simply the very best in everything, period, which is why they have to remind us about it so often.

Despite the fickle weather, which is always too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry, a guide’s reputation is forever at the mercy of air pressure, bugs or the lack of them and the will of the waters, which are usually too high, too low, too warm or too cold. I have heard endless theories explaining why fish aren’t taking, and l have come up with a couple of good ones of my own, when needed.

The purpose of our recent busman’s holiday was to take a day off from the usual routine. It has long been an undertaking we’ve shared, even though it has been difficult to schedule at times.

As usual, we nailed down a date on short notice. The angling gods unleashed a splendid day to be on the ponds, with very little wind and just enough sun to keep us comfortable.

As usual, we trolled, cast, jigged and laughed. And we actually caught a few fish. Although our actual take was not as significant as getting out there again, we ended up with more than enough fish to fill a frying pan or two.

In addition to brookies, we caught and released several hefty bullhead while trolling spoons. The bullhead seemed to be in a bit deeper water than the brookies, which were also unusually active on sunny day. As usual, we were all tired by the end of the day. It was very satisfying, and I’m ready for more.

All of the natural signs point to good fishing ahead. Black flies are again in the air and wildflowers are blooming on the forest floor, while snapping turtles and painted turtles will soon be digging nests in the sandy riverbanks.

Grouse are currently drumming and loons have begun pairing up on the ponds. It is a great time to get out, before the flying teeth begin to solicit their annual contributions from their unsuspecting victims.


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