Now comes the Spring from Winter's bed, in the Land of Hasse Ola
Sprouts forth the green, from the dead, just like the times of Noah
Hoot one last time then go to bed as sun wakes from nights embrace
Big eyes set in an old wise head, the stoic owl's face
I crouch at edge of wood and meadow, for its written in my blood
To stalk the creatures of the earth and track them through the mud
I'm always hunting but not always taking, my curiosity has a belly of its own
So on this bandit's trail I go, to find his secret home
I pass a tortoise, whose name is gopher, as he hurries towards his hole
But I, much faster, pick him up, a look is all I stole
I put him down because I notice another creature's presence
An Indigo, quite long and black with purple iridescence
My father says there were many more a long, long time ago
But men built roads and kill for fear; no safe place for Indigo
And here I am side tracked again, but I have not lost my way
I will pick up, the masked ones trail, but it will be another day
In the land of Hasse Ola
Calvin "Cheese Grits" Yerke
This is my favorite time of the year for Bass fishing in Florida. The large mouth Bass fishing really picks up especially if you want a big sow. The heavy girls start posting up to spawn and eventually move into the shallows to make beds. In the clearer lakes it makes it possible to sight fish for them and this is one of the most exciting approaches to fishing for any species. Bieng able to see the sign in the water, like beds, and then eventually the fish, makes it like still hunting only on the water with a rod and reel instead of a gun. There is hardly anything more exciting than seeing a fish take the lure your presenting, and then setting up on him. The only thing that might be better is having all of this, but on a top water lure so you get the that heart stopping crash.
I love the early mornings and late afternoons for casting frogs, but I always have some plastics handy, and some smaller lures to downsize to. The reason for the smaller stuff is this is that alot of hatchlings of other fish species are bunched up and active. The bass and other predators, like pickerel and crappie will become fixated on a particular offering and this is when you need to match the hatch. Variety is always a good rule of thumb and take a kid fishing.
No matter what you call it; it is a cool fish. I v'e heard people say they won't eat them and yet it is one of the tastier, cleaner fish that you can pull from fresh water. It has a really nice texture to the meat and is good fried or broiled. Here's a great You Tube video of a guy showing some best cleaning practices for this type of fish. It would also work for it's northern cousin's, the musky and the pike.
If you're interested in catching pickerel they will hit a variety lures and put up a decent fight on light line. I have an ultralight, Falcon rod that I like to use with a spinning reel outfitted with 4 to 6 pound test mono. They are ambush predators and you will usually find them around heavy cover like pickerel grass, that's weird. We have caught a lot of pickerel fish on in line spinners like rooster tails, especially in the white pattern with a silver blade. This is a very fast fish and you will often see a nice wake, in the form of a V, charging your lure just before he either strikes or at the last second turns away. If he turns away, take the same lure and cast it a little further beyond your first cast. When you retrieve it, try speeding up this time with some slight twitches to add a little crippled fish action. Sometimes the faster retrieve will trigger the strike and this may be because the fish has less time to contemplate the lure.
It is a beautiful animal with different shades of green, yellow and gold and wonderful snake like "chain" pattern. Often you will catch specimens with a high amount of red pigmentation in their tail. It is one of the prettiest fresh water fish you can catch here in Florida. For the snooty fisherman out there, yes, you can still catch it on a fly the way you say God intended. It is a worthy game fish and deserves more respect. My daughter will usually prefer it over catching a bass because of how pretty they are. I am still kid myself so I enjoy catching a wide range of species using a variety of techniques. Oh, and the biggest one of these I ever saw caught down here was taken on an artificial topwater frog. Good luck and God Bless.
I remember my little sunflower out on the soccer field. She would pick up beetles and bring them over to show me,while the soccer ball would roll right past her feet. Her coach and all of us would scream, "lily, the ball, the ball!" Sometimes she would go after it and sometimes I would yell, "other way", but sometimes she would just show everyone the beetle. I was trying to get her to look at the camera here, but again, "a girl interrupted" by a bug. Lily, please don't buy into cool or worry what people say. Always remember that bullies are empty and afraid and take pity on them, but never be the bully. You are beautiful, I love you, and the world has been in need of a Lily for quite some time. Don't ever change.
See a flower in a field of many; it looks just like the sun
High above the ones below, and a foot above my head
Just as yellow as the sun, yellow as a rose is red
It's contemplating, there's something, crawling on the ground
The other flowers face straight out wanting to be seen
This one focused on the floor wanting just to see
I call to her, she lifts her face, and smiles back at me
Then picks up something from the field ignoring where she was planted
She pulls up her roots, then makes her way, over to where I stand
And there it is, an emerald with six legs, crawling in her hand
"What is it, she asked?"
I say, "I think it's Japanese."
"Because that's where he's from," she asks?
"Not sure,' I must confess,'but that is a possibility."
She leaves the jewel for me to watch and runs back to her game
And even if she doesn't win; I sure am glad I came
She kicks the ball then stops to see if her bug is safe with me
I shake my head and smile at her, and she smiles back so wide
I looked straight at the sun that day, but it didn't burn my eyes
- Calvin "Cheese Grits" Yerke
Catfish, they have to be one of my favorite fish to catch, and keep in aquariums. When it comes to fish tanks though, I like the Plecostomus the best of all the catfishes. That little sucker mouth up against the glass, cleaning algae off the natural way; what could be more appropriate in a tank. Now, they are no saviors when it comes to really poor tank conditions and there are those algae that they seem to show no interest in. But check out the different types some time and you will find a wide array of size, color and feeding preferences. My favorite is the Zebra pleco, followed by the gold nuggets and bristle noses, to name a few. Here in Florida you will also find a feral population, introduced by some of our more responsible pet owners, who thought they were doing the right thing, in letting the animal they no longer wanted go free.
Standing on the shore, of this small lake in Central Florida, I watch a very large pleco as he cruises through the shallows. I wonder how many there really are here in the state? Iv'e seen them in many other lakes but most disturbingly in the St. John's River and Withlacoochee. It sounds horrible, but the environment would be much better off if you just ate your unwanted pets, feral cats and stray dogs included. And I digress.
Oh yea, catfish, that's what I'm tying this circle hook on for. I talked to my buddy, Matt, before we came out, and at his suggestion stopped to get some stew meat. Apparently, the local indigenous tribe of Kissimmeeans that surrounds this manmade wonder of a lake, with their cookie cutter huts, throw a lot of left over barbecue in here. So Matt has tested and found this to work quite well on the fish in this particular lake. As I put it on the hook I am also noticing some qualities about his choice of baits that I find appealing. One is, it doesn't stink like cheese blood.
The second is, it doesn't come off the hook as easy as hot dogs or other baits, and there is blood soaked into it as well as healthy portions of fat hanging from it. The third is because of the second, since it doesn't fall off it last a long time and I don't have to keep rebating the girls lines that they don't like to leave in the water for very long. It's just an all around, down right durable bait.
It worked well too, catfish after catfish after catfish, with a suprise South American Red Tail thrown in the mix. I know what you're thinking, that I ate it right. No, and I didn't kill it either. I heard they don't taste good like a channel cat and this was a retention pond so I didn't feel like one lone red tail with no access to our natural waterways posed a threat. So I let him go, back into this small semi artificial ecosystem, and I hope I wasn't wrong in doing so. Below is a video of Lily fighting a channel cat, and another video with the red tail that Drew caught.
The gear for this is simple; I would recommend at least 6 LB. test line or higher. We are fishing on the bottom so using a little bit of weight for the bait caster which has 10 LB. test mono on it, an egg sinker and a circle hook. The spinning rods are rigged similarly, but with one having 20 LB. Power Pro braid. The rods are anywhere from medium light, to medium, to a medium heavy bait caster. These are great fish for introducing kids to our sport, but keep in mind they do have barbed spines so handle with care.
"Daddy, get her out of there, now!" - Drewmatik
"She's fine." - Cheese Grits
"That momma fox is coming back, get my sister out, now!" - Drewmatik
"Oh my gosh, come on Scales, I guess your little sister does love you after all." - Cheese Grits
"But dad, I'm so close to the Kits, just a little further." - Scale Lily
"Lily, come back here now!!!" - Drewmatik
Quietly and swiftly she moves on the ground
Seeking what food might be found
The fox is a predator, but sometimes prey
Some people hunt them too, because others pay
The farmer and his dog search high and low
But where hides the fox, they do not know
She's smart and sly, so the stories say
Get close to her kits and she leads you away
Her sensitive ears hear farmer and dog
So quickly she slips inside of a log
Then she climbs up the hill when the coast is clear
Her keen eyes see things far and near
And you shouldn't be fooled by her small size
For this little vixen is both strong and wise
Calvin "Cheese Grits" Yerke