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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gone Fishing

Today was a beautiful day- and tonight is a full moon. So Mr. G and I decided to go bream fishing on the Warrior River, one of my favorite places to fish. Even when the fish aren't on the beds or biting, the scenery is beautiful, particularly in the spring, when the bluffs along the banks sport a wide variety of flowering native plants. Usually, at this time of year, the mountain laurels are in full bloom, displaying a profusion of delicate pink blossoms. Today, they were just in bud- but ready to burst open any day now.
What we did find blooming were some shrubs/trees cascading down the banks next to the mountain laurel, with cream/white four-petaled flowers that reminded me of mock oranges- although they didn't have the strong scent I associate with mock oranges. I wondered if they might be some form of Stewartia, but am not sure. It was hard to get a good pic with the boat rocking,so I broke my own rule and picked a couple of blooms to bring home. If you recognize it, please let me know what it is.

We also passed a few turtles sunning on logs, like this one. He stayed still for so long that we wondered if he was alive, but he finally moved his head when we started the trolling motor. But about the fish- and the full moon and why we picked today. Bream begin spawning when the water temperature hits the mid to high 70s-- somewhere between March and April around here. That first spawn usually happens on the first full moon when that particular water temperature occurs. About a week before the full moon, male bream start preparing beds for the females. Males move in first and start cruising an area to stake out territories. They make depressions by fanning their fins, and remove sticks and stuff with their mouths so the females, who will move in later, will have a nice tidy space to lay eggs. I can usually smell the beds (Mr. G was surprised and happy to learn that I had this ability when we first married) so we usually have some success if we can get to the river at the same time the males are moving onto the beds. We found a couple of beds among the lily pads and started throwing our cricket-baited hooks into the water. We caught a lot of bream and shellcrackers, but only kept about thirty five and released the rest (they do have to be cleaned, remember) . We caught some baby catfish, too, but turned them loose. I always feel a little bit guilty when we bait the hook with crickets, but I do try to tell them what a noble deed they are performing and how much we appreciate their sacrifice. We brought home enough fish to stock the freezer for a few meals and enjoyed a beautiful day- what more could one ask? Unless, of course, you're a bream... or a cricket...


FarmWife said...

I've never been a big fisher...but I love to take a book & go along when Husband fishes (not that I get the chance anymore...the kids all need help with their poles). Looks like you had a good day!

BTW, I've made 2 batches of violet jelly & I love it! It's different from anything I've tried before. I love the jelly making process. I never imagined it would be so simple! Now I can't wait for roses to bloom so I can make rose jelly.

roosterhen said...

farmwife-I can remember when we took the kids fishing in the boat-I never actually spent much time dealing with my own pole- spent most of my time untangling the kids' lines or helping them bait their hooks. :)

So glad you made the jelly- isn't it fun?

Rurality said...

So, you can smell bream beds? What do they smell like? (If you say Nag Champa, I'm going to slap you silly, LOL.)

roosterhen said...

Oh, my! If they smelled like Nag Champa I'd never go fishing again!LOL
The beds have a sort of "fishy" smell, but not like the smell of dead fish or supermarket fish or just caught fish- it's kind of a musky fish smell, hard to describe.