Column: Hot days, cool nights make good fishing

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 9, 2003

There is a lot to be said for August fishing and, contrary to what you might think, it’s not all bad.

This is the time of year when the heat of the day can still be pretty intense, but it gives way to the cool of the night.

I guess that in all reality, we can possibly have the best of both worlds (weather-wise) in August.

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Although the fishing may slow a little, there are still plenty of fish to be had. I was at Lake Tetonka this past weekend and from what I saw, the fish are still very active. In fact, I have mentioned before how the next couple of months on this particular lake can be very productive.

Early morning Bass’n can be very productive this time of year. Try fishing top-water lures over open pockets in weed beds. It may surprise you. I don’t think there is a better feeling than having a fish hit a top-water lure.

I guess I favor muskie fishing when it comes to the utter thrill of getting a strike on top-water lures. I’ve had them jump out of the water to take my lure when it was on the downfall and hadn’t even touched the water yet.

Once on Spider Lake I cast into this open pocket surrounded by some real heavy cover. As my lure was on the downfall the water just exploded and this large muskie came straight out of the water and hammered my lure. The tip of the tail must have cleared the surface of the water by about a foot. I’ll always remember the sight of that big fish shaking its head with my lure in its mouth. And when I think of it now, it is still as vivid as the day it happened. That is a memory that I’ll always be able to re-live.

Speaking of a thrill, it was quickly replaced by the onset of sudden panic and the speed reeling just to try and get the slack out of the line.

Bass and northern can offer the same kind of excitement when fishing top water lures. I was fishing a little bay on Spider and was thinking I should cast this Suick into this little pocket along a bank because it just looked like it should be holding fish. The lure barely hit the water when a nice northern exploded out of the lake with my lure in tow. What a feeling!

I guess that’s part of fishing that gets the adrenaline flowing. I put fishing in two categories. There’s the relaxation part where you can put on a bobber and let the wind move it gently along while you watch, mesmerized by the moment.

Then there is the other part of fishing where you feel the challenge to find that &uot;lunker&uot; lurking around the next point or just off the next drop-off and the satisfaction you get from finding out you were right. I do like casting the best and if you are in a boat and move slowly along the weed line try casting parallel to the edge of it or look for small open pockets in the weeds. You can cover a good amount of lakeshore thoroughly and will sooner or later trigger a strike.

Now shore fishing can be a little different challenge, especially if you have kids or grandkids. I used to take my boys fishing around Fountain Lake quite a bit when they were growing up and the one thing that has been passed on from me to them and now to their sons is the art of fishing in trees.

The rule states (I haven’t seen it written anywhere but it has to be written on a stone somewhere) that if there’s a kid and a tree in the same area they will eventually get together on opposite ends of the fishing pole.

I have removed many a lure from a tree branch over the years, and sometimes you’re not lucky enough to get them back. Kids can catch a tree from shore, from a dock or from a boat. It doesn’t matter.

About the time I start a lecture on not getting tangled in the trees, I have a little accident myself and then the shoe is on the other foot. I don’t have to wait very long to hear the little laughs and they make sure they remind me of what Grandpa did! Whenever I make a mistake I’m sure their little sides are hurting from laughing because they won’t let it go. That’s the way my boys were and they have definitely passed that one on to their boys.

That’s part of what makes family fishing fun. Make it fun for the kids and make sure they have a chance to catch fish and they will be hooked on it. They may not all become avid fishermen but they will always remember the fun they had.

My Uncle Ben was my fishing idol when I was growing up. He was to me then what Al Linder or Babe Winkelman are to today’s generation.

He was also a #1 prankster. He was always looking for an opportunity to play a joke on you. The one he passed down to me was one he always got me on. We’d start trolling and after a little time passed and I was sitting in the boat staring at my line, he’d turn it just enough so he could grab my line and give a few solid tugs. I’d just about jump out of the boat setting the hook but there’d be nothing there, of course, then I’d hear him laughing and know I’d been had. I never felt that there was anyone who could out-fish him or make you laugh more than he could.

I still think that he had to be chuckling to himself every time he picked me up for a fishing trip and my friend &uot;Skippy the killer-dog&uot; was in the back seat to keep me company.

I guess that’s where I get the idea that fishing should always be fun, and that not catching fish shouldn’t ruin the fact that you are already experiencing the joy of being there.

Good luck and good fishin’.

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Dick Herfindahl of Albert Lea is the Tribune’s outdoors columnist. His column appears Sundays.