Monday, October 22, 2012

Don’t Be Stubborn! When in Rome do as the Romans do!

First things first…you will note that there is no “What We Learned Today” instructional video.  Why?  Because the main fishing lesson to be learned from this trip is self-explanatory.  In short…don’t do what I did…learn from my many mistakes I made during this trip.   

Yes I caught fish…yes I continued “The Streak” (catching fish on 14-consecutive lakes…now extending 18-months long!)…but in reality I made several “rookie” mistakes.  Not something you want to do given the goal to keep “The Streak” alive while trying to create a positive (versus “negative”) learning experience for all the members. 

There are several lessons to be learned from this Blog posting on El Dorado Reservoir…all are important…one is critical if you want to continue growing as a fisherman.

Lesson #1:  I love each and every one of you; otherwise, I wouldn’t make such a great sacrifice to get up so early and sacrifice my body.   No…not even to go fishing.  Watch and see. 

Lesson #2:  When fishing any body of water containing Zebra Mussels…


Zebra Mussels are a VERY SERIOUS problem in many Kansas lakes and across the Midwest.  The KDWP post what waters contain these mussles and I encourage you to check out their web site for updates.  

In Kansas they can be found in Melvern,  Kanapolis, Jeffery Energy Make-Up and Auzillary Lakes, Milford, both Council Grove waters (reservoir and City Lake), John Redmond, Perry, Marion, Cheney, Winfield City Lake, Lake Afton, Wilson and El Dorado.  Plus, all the rivers that flow into and out of these lakes and reservoirs…!

If you fish any of these waters it is critical to take precautions against transporting them to other bodies of water.  You can do several things including draining all live wells and washing your boat at the nearest car wash and then letting it sit for at least 5-days (preferably in the sun) before using it again in a non-zebra mussel lake.

Personally, I always take three extra precautions: 

First, after loading the boat on the trailer (both the bass boat and small boat) I always let my motor all the way down and drain all the water from the lower unit before leaving the launching area. 

Second, in both boats I plug the live wells so no water can even get into the live well areas and get trapped.  (Note: I don’t keep the fish I catch so I don’t need to use the live well.  If you plan to keep your fish don’t transport them to another body of water.  If you plan to eat them…don’t throw the skeleton and/or remains in any local non-zebra mussel lake/pond/creek.) 

Third, on my small boat I plug the live well on the OUTSIDE of the boat…in the back where the water enters the boat…NOT on the inside of the live well.  Why, because that keeps water not only out of the live well…it keeps it out of the 10-foot of tubing running from the back of the boat to the front live well also!  

Zebra Mussels are no joke…once they infest a lake or reservoir it becomes almost impossible to get rid of them.  PLEASE DO YOUR PART…!   (NOTE:  This is a public service announcement… and, “Yes, I approve this message”!)

Lesson #3:  When in Rome do as the Romans do!  Look…this is one time you should NOT do things as I did them.  (I didn’t really just say that, did I?)  Yes, that’s what I said…ignore what I did and do what I’m about to tell you to do.  It will make you a lot better fisherman.

If you wanted to catch a crappie would you fish in the Gulf of Mexico?  If you wanted to catch a trout would you fish in your local pond?  If you wanted to catch a walleye would you fish in Florida?  If you wanted to catch a largemouth bass would you fish in El Dorado?

The short answer to each of these questions is, “NO”…!   Yes, anything is “possible” but trying to catch a fish in a body of water where that fish is not dominant is like trying to find that needle in a haystack someone is still looking for.  That’s not to say El Dorado doesn’t have a largemouth population…but clearly there is not a large population of them.    In fact, I learned from one of the members I recently fished with that the nickname for El Dorado is “The Dead Sea”…!  Well, that’s not true regarding some species of fish…but largemouth bass…probably!

It’s known for its walleye, smallmouth bass and white/striper/wiper bass fishing…not its largemouth bass fishing.  In fact, it has a pretty healthy population of smallmouth bass.  The picture on the Blog was the first strike and first fish I caught out of my new bass boat.  That smallmouth weighed 4-lbs!  No…I’m not guessing…I weighed it on a digital scale.  That’s a big smallmouth no matter what part of the country you live in. 

(Note: The picture was taken in a format that would not load onto this I made a short video from it in a different format so I could load it.  NO...I don't want any emails from my "friends" making fun of my shirt...real men wear purple...okay!  Besides, it shows my "sensitive" side...just one more example (of so many) that my golfing buddies could learn from me...!)

(Note: We have a member who catches a lot of catfish on El Dorado too…in fact; she is supposed to be inviting me along…but…?  You guessed it.  Still waiting…! don't think she changed her mind after meeting me do you?    Okay...keep your opinions to yourself please!

So pay attention (Stop laughing…no I’m not kidding…I mean actually pay attention this one time) here is the lesson that is critical if you want to continue to progress as a fisherman…

Either fish waters that have a healthy population of the fish you want to catch…or…learn to fish for whatever is the dominant fish in that particular water.  Period…No Exception…!  Why beat your head against the wall?  Why spend hours fishing for something that is not very well populated in that lake?  Why try to catch largemouth bass in El Dorado Reservoir?   Why try to find that needle in a haystack?  

In short…why be stubborn like me…! (There I said it…I can be stubborn.  Note to self…I think I’m supposed to feel better about myself right about now.  Still waiting to feel better.  Still waiting.  Nope…didn’t work.  Sure wasted $200 on that therapy session!)

(Note:  Just in case my lovely wife of 41-years should ever read this Blog posting...(or my friends or family tell her what I said) for the record...being "stubborn" is not necessarily the same thing as being "wrong"...something my wife says I refuse to ever admit.  But I would agree that "stubborn" and "wrong" are "kissing cousins".  As one famous person said, "It depends on what 'is' means".     

Yes, I caught fish in spite of myself.  I even caught fish not on the video…once even broke my line on a very large fish…also not on the video.  But…here I was surrounded by a ton of baitfish and schools of white bass…and what do I do…continue to look for that needle in a haystack (largemouth bass).  All I can say is, “Duh”!

It is true that I didn’t have exactly the right equipment with me to catch the whites…or the crappies that were there too…but “Hello, whose fault was that”!  It was totally mine!  (Now I feel better about myself.  No I don’t….just made that up.  Reminder to self…find another therapist!) 

Stop right now…I already know someone is going to email me telling me they catch a few largemouth bass on El Dorado.  Please do.  I seriously would like to hear from you.  For the record…so have I…and I will again.  But that doesn’t really change a thing.

Mistake #1 was fishing exclusively for largemouth bass on a lake not known for large populations of bass.  Mistake #2 was fishing way up in the river when this time of year most largemouth bass (such as they are) are out in the main lake areas.  Mistake #3 was not being prepared to take the best advantage I could of the best resource available on that lake…white bass, walleye and crappie. 

So…I made several mistakes on many different levels on this trip.  (Now I feel better about myself. No…not kidding this time…I really do feel better.  Not sure if it’s the confessional release of so much deeply personal information, feelings and inter-honesty about me to you my fans…or whether it’s the release of my therapist saving me $200 a week which I can apply to more fishing equipment…?  Okay…that’s an easy one to answer…!)

So to “up your game”…fish where you have the best chance to catch whatever species of fish you are after and forget about finding that needle because the only way to find it is you have to first get stuck by it…!

Until next time…go fishing…catch a lot…keep some to eat…return back the rest.

Clay Dixon
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