Autumn Fishing and Why I Never Get to Enjoy it

Deer.

That’s why I don’t get to enjoy that fall fish feeding frenzy (and don’t act like y’all don’t enjoy the alliteration).

I realize it’s my own fault.

Why don’t I just leave the poor deer alone and go catch a fish?

I know the bass are feeding aggressively. And the browns and brookies that live a short 2 hours away are getting ready to spawn. This is the best time of year for me to fool a truly big fish on the fly. They want to get fat and they want to do it fast.

I went out just the other day and the bass were already charging around chasing minnows and just feeding hard in general, and it’s just starting to cool down here in the South Carolina upstate. (As a side note I caught very few of these bass due to my insistence on fishing a popper in a very passive way, like it was still the middle summer, instead of putting on the big articulated streamer I finally switch to right before dark and started catching fish. I’m an idiot.)

Large articulated streamer or as I call it my “bigass bass cougar”.

And yet, even though I know the fishing is going to be awesome here in the near future and I should be tying flies and planing trips into the mountains, I can’t stop, even as I’m writing this, from worrying about all the things I still need to do to prepare for the quickly upcoming deer season.

I need meat in my freezer. Not want but need. I have a lot of mouths to feed and I don’t like buying meat from the grocery store for a bunch of hippy-ass reasons I won’t delve into at this particular moment. And I’m kind of unlucky when it comes to deer hunting (read as “I suck at hunting”), so this causes me to spend most to all of my free time during deer season, which is one longest in the country, in the woods.

I think this year though I’ll make a vow – I will not let fall fishing pass me by. I will not obsess about killing a deer. I will chase the hungry bass. I will find the big browns and brookies. I WILL FISH…

Except on Saturdays. Saturdays I’ll hunt. And during the new moon… And maybe right before a big cold front comes through… Or right after…

 

Soon…

I’m sitting here holding a sleeping baby with one hand and typing with the other thinking about how much I remind myself of a dead deer lying on the side of the road; I can’t move, I’m starting to stink and I pretty sure I’m starting to noticeably bloat.

The deer at least has the light of the sun to sit and fester in. I only have the sickly glow of this computer screen to light my slow decomposition.

Sorry. I think the lack of both sleep and outside stimulation has started to get to me.

Tomorrow though, I leave for the fishing trip/bachelor party I recently wrote about. 

I probably won’t get any extra sleep. And I may at some point still have to hold someone who is likely to cry and/or puke at any given moment. And it’s suppose to rain the whole time.

But you know what? I’ll be surrounded by good friends, I have a raincoat, a box of streamers, a case of nice beer, a bottle of bourbon and none of my children will be within a hundred miles of me.

If I can’t turn that into a good time I might as well throw in the ol’ proverbial towel…

Deer

Since moving to Rock Hill I’ve been doing a lot of deer hunting, or at least a lot more than I did around Charleston.  Don’t get me wrong, I definitely deer hunted in Charleston, but there was always something pulling my attention one way or the other; fishing, tying flies, shrimping, football, parties, work (though work very rarely kept my attention).  Here I have, let’s say, a simpler life in many ways. Not any more time than I had in Charleston, but certainly fewer distractions, so I’ve found myself spending most of my free time in the woods trying to kill a deer.

“Trying” is the operative word in the above sentence.  So far this season has been a bust.  I’ve did see one small doe, which I could have shot legally, but I let her pass by. Now, over a month later, that has been the only deer I’ve seen and my freezer is empty.

I wouldn’t be taking it so hard if I hadn’t been spending so much time freezing my ass off in the woods.  I’ve been out at least once a week, if not more, since the start of the season.  I would have at least spooked a deer in that time if I were back on my home turf hunting. Of course back home I know the woods like the back of my hand.  Okay, not so well that I don’t occasionally get turned around and lost for hours at a time but well enough that I have the confidence to go into slightly less familiar areas and know I’ll eventually come out somewhere where I can get my bearings.  I don’t have that luxury here in the Rock Hill area.  Every bit of info I have on the surrounding area is gleaned from Google Earth, DNR maps, and the scantest amount of actual scouting (which is the only way to get any real info).

I shouldn’t complain too much though.  Soon it’ll be prime time for small game; squirrel, rabbit, quail.  All great excuses to ramble around and learn the lay of the land.  By next year l should have more than the two stand sights I have this year. And who knows, deer season isn’t over yet.