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Rick Bramwell

Last Thursday, I had plans for heading south, but one thing and then another kept holding me back. As it turned out, I only needed a little more than three hours to have a great day’s fishing.

My biggest obstacle was waiting for the groomer to put the finishing touch on Jeter, my grandson Grant’s dog. Normally, this task is handled by my son Greg. However, he was participating in a mid-day golf outing — business-related, I’m sure.

It was 6 p.m. when I slid my two-man bass boat into the 12-acre lake. One week earlier, I caught big bluegill spawning. Surely they would be off the nest and suspended in deep water.

It only takes about four days for the eggs to hatch, and the water had warmed considerably. It has often been said bluegill will spawn as often as three times during the warm-weather months, but I assumed the first time would be in unison. At 77, there is still a lot I don’t know or understand.

They were not exactly where I found them the week before but very close. Once I caught one, I dropped anchor and began catching big males on nearly every cast. Except for a couple, all had already fertilized the nest they were guarding.

I won’t go quite so far as to say I was tired of catching fish, however, I was concerned about taking too many from this one spot, thus leaving the nest unguarded. Besides, I wondered where the fatter females were located. Yet another concern was having too many fish to clean.

I caught a couple of big females suspended at 8 feet but really hit paydirt when I found a school hanging in some underwater tree branches. These fish were still laden with eggs.

In this lake, when I fish timber, the down-sized Slider crappie grub attracts stunted bass. I do not throw them back. The bass was adding mightily to the weight of my fish basket.

With about 20 minutes of light left, I caught a big redear. This fish destroyed my last rigged plastic grub — a fitting way to end a fabulous evening.

I had planned on spending the night but never realized the fishing would be so hot. A thought came to mind that bad weather was predicted for early Friday. Did I want to be loading my boat in a thunderstorm?

The answer came not from these thoughts but rather when two teen girls came hiking by and asked if I would like some help.

The next day almost 10 inches of rain accumulated, and by Saturday morning water was going over the earthen dam. The storm also knocked out the power for two days.

After two good outings I wondered why I could not buy a fish last fall? Were the fish not biting? With bluegill, you usually catch a few on a bad day.

I do remember one fall when the fish were hugging the bottom. Because of the algae, I can no longer fish the bottom. It would be difficult to believe it was the angler’s fault.

I like to measure fish as I clean them and often take pictures with a ruler alongside the fish, lest someone might accuse me of stretching the truth. The shortest bluegill measured 9 inches.

Did some of the fish go over the dam? I’d say they did. How it will affect the fishing may be learned on my next trip.

Rick Bramwell’s outdoors column runs on Thursdays.

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