Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First Steps in Fishing

Fishing, in contradiction to what many people may believe, is not a simple sport. Yes, it is classified as a sport and licenses are issued for a fee by the Ministry of natural resources. Kids and seniors are exempted. My journey in the wonderful often tedious and risky world of fishing started with the purchase of an outdoors card and a season license for fishing. I had to familiarize myself with the fishing regulations by zone. Most fish could be caught and kept only certain time of the year. The ministry tried to ensure uninterrupted spawning, especially endangered or depleting specious of fish.
Next a visit to Wal-Mart resulted in purchasing of a few fishing gears like the fishing rod with wheel, bunch of plastic baits and a small net. Once I figured out the tricky part of casting and reeling I beamed myself to one of the many fishing spots around the St. Mary's rapid. Soon I started to realize the difficulties when every third casting ended in snags. After a whole week of fishing and loosing most of my plastic baits that cost me almost a fortune my total catches amounted to one small catfish. Talk about achievement.
I knew I was missing something very vital. My attempts to get some help from the fellow fishermen didn't always go smoothly. To my surprise I discovered most fishermen weren't as friendly as one might expect them to be, either due to boredom or poor luck with fishing. The ones who were helpful talked my ears off. The cumulative information that I gathered left me more confused than ever. However, I learned many things as well. You can't use the same bait for all fish or even in all spots. It is necessary to do some spot profiling. One must find out the snag points, local fish population type and behavior, feeding habits, weather pattern etc. Also, knowing the art of reeling back is very important. This could make or break a fisherman's hours of hard work (if you are continuously casting and reeling the muscles does start to feel the stress). Some fish are quick to gulp its pray, some others are known to follow it before biting; some others wait quietly until it finds a suitable meal. Depending on how you reel your bait back you enhance your chances of catching specific type of fish.
After spending hours of hours of patient time and lots of casting, reeling, cursing, whining slowly but steadily my skill started to pick up. The first big fish that I caught was a twenty four inch - twelve pound Northern Pike. This is an eel like fish with sharp small mouthful of teeth. They are infamous for their unending appetite and were considered to have a bad influence in any echo system.
Happy, proud and all that I brought my catch home only to find out that Mili would not even touch it. So, I merrily scaled and sliced it and later made a mess frying it. Besides the initial scolding that was directed to me from Mili, there were also a few words of appreciation later as we found out the fish was delicious. Locals rarely ate them but it catered to our taste for fish. This catch was very encouraging and pushed me into a fishing frenzy in the coming days.

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