---- — It’s hard to imagine that in just a few short weeks the temperature will be climbing into the 70s and 80s. It is also difficult to recollect just what warm weather feels like, at least to me anyway. The 90-degree heat that chased many of us inside last year would surely be a welcomed respite this week. If tomorrow brought a heat wave our way, would we stay out in it or run and hide in our air-conditioned homes? Would we complain about the humidity and having to mow our yards once or twice a week? Just how many of us would already be hoping for the cooler days of autumn? When it comes to the weather, many of us are more than just a little fickle. I don’t know if there is really any pleasing the human race when it comes to cold snowy nights, or hot sultry afternoons.
Once the ice has disappeared from our rivers and lakes, fishing will become unbelievably fantastic. With such a long cold winter, along with thick ice covering all of our waterways, the oftentimes elusive fish will be more than eager to leap onto our fishing hooks. With such a thick ice pack this year, food has become scarcer than during most normal winters. With the sunlight being diffused or totally blocked out from the depths of our Indiana waters, any plant growth that could have been a potential food source has either died out or been completely eaten by our many starving fish. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if we discover a large fish kill brought on by the lack of food or oxygen in our streams and ponds this season.
Oh, if I were a worm these days, I’d have to think seriously about seeking new employment. For one thing, a dip in the water is going to be rather cold during the early part of fishing season, and also, could you imagine being one of those slimy, slithering creatures diving into the water only to be met by dozens of fish with voracious appetites? I’m pretty certain that if it were me, I’d be jumping off of that hook and running for cover as I screamed for my mommy to rescue me. I’ve cleaned many fish in my day only to find several worms that have been swallowed whole still remaining in the predator’s stomach. That kind of gives me a whole new appreciation for Jonah being swallowed by a whale.I haven’t been fishing in several years unfortunately, but this year is going to be different. If it takes me crawling on my hands and knees through the muck and mire, I will make it to some riverbank so that I can wet my fishing line. To be honest, catching a fish isn’t really the biggest thrill for me. It’s more of a spiritual thing, just sitting near the water’s edge and listening and watching nature as she goes about her daily tasks. It might be nothing more than just watching a water-spider running upstream, only to be eaten by a sharp-eyed bass. Maybe it’s something as simple as the hypnotic trance that a beautiful dragonfly puts you in as he sits on the tip of your fishing pole. Off in the distance one can often see what appears to be multiple torpedoes heading toward the far side of the pond. It is a school of large carp skimming the bottom as they clean algae and other debris from the muddy lake bottom. I, on more than one occasion, have witnessed my Grandpa wrestling one of those monstrous critters for more than three hours in the Wabash River. I despise the taste of carp, but will eat you under the table when it comes to catfish. I love seafood as well, but nothing will ever compare to fresh catfish just caught in an Indiana stream.
It’s nearing the time of year when one should get out all of their fishing gear and take an inventory, to see what needs to be purchased. I will also hook my fishing line to a tree and stretch out the entire line that has been curled up inside of the reel for several months. If you don’t do this on a yearly basis, once you toss your line toward the water, it will most likely jam up into a tangled mess. Once fishing season arrives, you don’t want anything to delay you from filling your first stringer of fish for 2014. I’ve always used fishing hooks that do not have any type of barb attached to the hook. One reason being is that it is much easier to remove from the mouth of a slippery fish. Secondly, and probably most importantly, is that if I jam one into my tender flesh, it will come out with somewhat less pain.I think that I have finally reached the age when I can begin to exaggerate those often-told fish stories. When you are younger, if you attempt to tell everyone that the fish you caught are bigger than they really are, no one will believe you and just take you for being a liar. When you get older, like myself, people either believe your stories or they just don’t really care. Maybe they figure that, with your advancing age, your memory might be fading somewhat, so they just smile and patiently listen while you continuously repeat the same stories over and over again. Occasionally, they may glance over to anyone else who might be listening with a look of, oh no, do we have to hear this one again? Fear not, you young whippersnappers, you will one day earn the right to stretch your fish stories out, and then the generation behind you can roll their eyes in disbelief and boredom.• Contact Raymond Snoke at email@example.com.