This was my first move once I got off the water today. I think once you notice the tips of your fingers are changing color it is generally a good idea to quit.
This week was torture. Monday morning, I noticed that there were a pair of days forecasted to be over 20 degrees. At that point in time they were Saturday and Sunday. As the week crept by, the "warm" weather moved closer to me. Before you know it, Friday was gorgeous and Friday night was the end of the warm spell.
I spent all of Friday bemoaning my luck and trying to screw up the courage to get on the water Saturday morning, at least before the temps dropped below zero. In the end, I had to do it. Nothing wears on me more than not fishing, especially when the weather is terrible. I knew I needed the time on the water for my mental state, and boy did it do me good.
As I climbed out of my truck, the wind was already whipping snow off the ground and into the air. I peeled my Stick Jacket off, tucked my phone into my top pocket, and started down the bank. I fished the first spot until I broke off. That seemed like a prime time to get back in the truck and change locations.
New leader, new jig, new spot. Nothin'. I spent my middle hour on new water that I couldn't bring myself to love. Too shallow, no bites, I split.
My third and final spot was a beauty. It had depth, wasn't too fast, and it had fish! I managed to get four bites and bring one of them to the bank. Two of the bites were definitely the same fish, and he succeeded in taking off one of my claws.
Usually you can tell pretty well how big a fish is right off the bat. For whatever reason, I can't tell with these guys. Maybe I just need to get a big one to know what that feels like, or maybe the current and a slightly sluggish smallmouth makes for a heavy feeling fish almost no matter what.
One fish, even if it wasn't big, was still enough for me. I fished until I broke off my jig and noticed that one of my fingers was turning white while I thought about re-tying. That was my sign. I scrabbled back up the bank, put my fingers in my mouth, and walked back to a warm truck and my thermos of tea.
Anywho, I'll leave you with what I just realized was my first fish of 2014 while I get another cup of tea. The tips of my fingers still hurt from the cold and I'm not gonna beat 'em up any more than I have to.