Woods & Water

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By Ken Sim­mers

Who’s the best fish­er­man?

In the hu­man world, that ques­tion could start more ar­gu­ments than most, for there are thou­sands who may qual­ify, so let’s limit it a lit­tle bit. In the avian world, who is the best fish­er­man?

My vote would nat­u­rally go to the os­prey, but I am more than a lit­tle prej­u­diced, since I watch them ev­ery day. Even so, their suc­cess rate is about 10 per­cent; they score once ev­ery 10 times. Not bad, as long as they try a lot. They have a nat­u­ral beauty in their dive, and they are hunt­ing for their din­ner, so not only are they fish­er­men, they are hunters, as well.

Plenty of Ori­en­tals would vote for the cor­morant. For cen­turies, cor­morants have fished for man; their cap­tors put a ring around their necks and at­tach a line to their leg so they can re­trieve the bird af­ter a suc­cess­ful dive, then get the small fish from the cor­morant’s beak.

Lo­cally, the Great Blue Heron would get lots of votes. He stalks, cat-like, in the shal­lows un­til he spots his prey, then spears it with his beak, turns it un­til he can swal­low his fish, then tilts his head back and swal­lows it. I took plenty of pic­tures of GBH’s do­ing ex­actly this. One, in fact, caught a fish so large he could barely swal­low it. His neck be­came en­gorged with his prize, but he fi­nally got him down.

So I’m go­ing to limit this dis­cus­sion a lit­tle more: which bird is the great­est fly fish­er­man? My vote goes to the Green Heron, who not only stalks his prey, but baits the area with in­sects first.

That’s right, the Green Heron first catches an in­sect, then drops it into a good area where he sus­pects fish may be, then pa­tiently waits un­til a fish grabs the in­sect. Then he strikes.

The first nat­u­ral fly fish­er­man, pre-dat­ing Dame Ju­liana Berg­ers by cen­turies.

How do we choose a kayak?

Good ques­tion, since kayak­ing is spec­tac­u­larly ex­plod­ing in our watery area. Ques­tions to con­sider: where do you wish to kayak? (you may need more than one); what is the water like? (calm, rough, waves, swells, flat­wa­ter); are you plea­sure­boat­ing or rac­ing?; will it be a fish­ing boat or some other spe­cial­ized boat?

Let’s sup­pose you wish to fish in our wa­ters. Sta­bil­ity is an is­sue, since land­ing a fish can be quite tricky in a ‘yak. Wider is bet­ter, although it will be slower and harder to pad­dle. Space is an is­sue; you prob­a­bly will need two rods, a cooler, and some space to store your tackle.

Like other ar­eas, I be­lieve in min­i­mum; more is not bet­ter, it’s just more clut­tered. Two rods is plenty; a small (and I do mean small) tack­le­box is just right. A cooler big enough for lunch and two wa­ters will do ev- ery­thing you need, just not ev­ery­thing you may want. Re­mem­ber, you also have to fit in the kayak and have room to move.

A typ­i­cal out­ing will be three hours; more is cramp­ing. You will need to get out and stretch. A spare pad­dle for the group is a good idea, is you go in a group. If you are a loner, make your choice.

A lip-grip is a good idea, if you think you may catch a large fish. If cat­fish­ing, take a net. Did you ever try to get a boca grip in a cat­fish’s mouth?

Have fun, that’s the main thing. En­joy the pad­dling and the fish­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Make it a day to re­mem­ber when win­ter sets in. Take a few pic­tures to bring the day back to you.

Get out there and do it!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.