Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bartlett Lake Fishing Trip w/ David J.

It was another brisk early spring day in Arizona. The sky was clear and sunny but the wind was very cold. The lake was not near as bad as the last trip out but was still covered by debris. Dave and I fished around the dock while Dad readied the boat for our trip up the lake. Normally, I would man the trolling motor but I was not feeling confident in my abilities this morning. Between our visitor and the cold weather my hands were just not working correctly. We had a fantastic trip, all be it cold, up the lake. I decided to have a shoreline lunch in a bay around the buoy lines. Fortunately, dad was able to anchor the boat in a small cove where we could lower our lines and begin fishing. I was not trying to fish hard, the cold weather it makes bluegill fishing very difficult. My main interested was getting dad to relax (a near impossible endeavor) and keep David occupied. To my surprise, David caught a small 6in bass! He had lowered his line down to a structure (not quite sure if it was an artificial fish-house or just some debre), allowing his bait to drifted around under the boat and to my surprise, started getting hit. Dave wouldn't let me take a picture of his little bass, worried that this would be the only fish he caught and his fisherman's bravo would be damaged if anyone saw it. Shortly there after, he caught a very nice 1/2lb bluegill hybrid. I made sure to get a picture this time!

I was feeling better about my trolling motor captaining skills, after practising during our MRE lunch. We up-anchored and headed down the shore. Before heading back to the marina, I trolled crank baits up the north side of the bay to a hot spot from years earlier, it didn't forgo us! Dave didn't catch anything but did miss a few good hits and dad caught a very yellow 1lb channel catfish. Our trip back to the marina was relaxing, I wanted to go up to the Yellow Cliffs but dad wasn't comfortable with the motors water cooling system. We headed straight back to the marina. One tiny issue, I forgot to pull in the fish basket w/ Dave's 1/2lb bluegill BEFORE the 5 mile trip back to the marina. The fish got scaled alive! We had to dispose of the little guy, his guts got busted up during the trip causing him to rot! Oops!

The marina was still completely trashed from the numerous dilusies and the air and water temperatures were still low, all leading me to believe the crappie fishing would totally suck! To my everlasting delight, I was wrong! I wasn't able to fish (forgot my pole holder), dad was fishing in our current favorite spot and David was chilling in the back of my boat. That was until dad pulled the second crappie from that hole, I bet Dave hadn't moved that quickly in years! We all fished that 2ft by 8ft hole for the next 3 hours, catching 16 crappie and a few bluegill. David had a hot finger for crappie, this day! I was also watching his line & pole, cheering him on and directing the action every time he got bit. It was a good time! The only difficulty we were having was the 1in thick of scum and branches jammed until the bay. Literally, the fishing line could not penetrate the muck and every 1/2lb netted fish also came with 5lbs of debre! It was a mess but made it interesting. We had a great day fishing! I could not have asked for a better day for David, cool and easy going...

David was still craving a pizza, so I ordered a pair from the road. It was waiting for us when we arrived!

Fish Count: 16 Crappie, 2 Bluegill, 1 Catfish Total: 19

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dads Hunting Trip & Rabbit Stew

Dad started preparing the day before by laying out all our hiking supplies; MRE, water, hat, first-aide, utility tool, knife, etc. Next we rigged up his hiking pack and he tried on his Christmas hunting outfit, everything from new boots, upland hunting pants, camo shirt & hunting vest. Speaking of Xmas, dad was like a kid, nervously awaiting the big dad when he can actually play w/ his new toys. He put his ENTIRE outfit w/ pack rig on and paraded around the house for hours!

Rick drove Christina over at 6AM (so I wouldn't have to get my arse up early) and picked up dad for the 1 hour trip to the Tonto National Forest. They regularly hunt the road heading out to Horseshoe Lake but the dirt road had been washed out during the "biblical flood" of 2010. They ended up hunting the south side of Bartlett Road about 5miles west of the lake. This was the last day of the 2009 quail hunt, the birds have been procude relentlusly for the prior 4 months. Needless to say, the birds were crazy weary! They catched the little buggers up and down some very steap and trechorous hills but never got into range. They did take a few shots but didn't even molest one single feather. Dad was able to get one scronny rabbit! Ya! The closet and best oppertunity dad had for quail was at the absolute best time! He had to get the rabbit field dresed ASAP before placing it in his hunting vest, otherwise the flea-like bugs infesting the fur would have infested him! Dad put his shot gun down and got to business, as he turned to wake back, he jumped a giant covy of quail BUT had no weapon! Nice hu? He chased they covey for the next two hills. Rick couldn't get through a GIANT forest of jumping-cactus to get into that covey. No fret, Rick & Dad will be out the opening down of the 2010 season. Hopefully their wing shooting will improve over the next 9 months. Rick bought me a clauy-pigeon thrower for Xmas (and I just bought dad a new Mossberg 500 pump shotgun), we are planning a few practice trips prior to the hunting season. The clay-pigeon thrower is triggered by a rope, we plan on tieing it to my chair and then `Pulling` the trigger by moving my chair. Dad was proud of that little rabbit, as he should be, it took a lot of work it get'em! Dad talked about the hunt for weeks, he still keep saying, "I like walking around the desert, i'd like to go out now", everytime we head out to the lake. I need to figure out a way to hunt the far side of the lake while we are fishing. There is just NOT enough time to do everything we want!

We had to cook the living crap out of that rabbit! We started by butchering him into 5 parts; 2 hind legs, 2 front legs and loins / back. Dad had to cut out some blood-shot flesh, we lost a bit of the right sholder. We next browned him off in the cast-iron pot w/ onions and pored in a can of golden mushroom soup. He cooked for an hour w/o even a bit of tenderness! After three hours we tried to eat a piece, no luck! It was now 7PM but I wasn't about to give up! We decided, one more hour and whatever happens, we're eating it! After a total of 4 hours, the meat was almost fork tender. He was very tasty! Nothing like chicken, game and sweet. The loin and hips are the best but I kinda like the sholder. I like picking the small bits of meat off the bones but it drive dad crazy! He's so impachent w/ me and always tries to throw it out before i'm done. i'd suck the bones if i could! Oh well, we'll just have to get more rabbits so I can waste the little bits. All-in-all, it was a very good meal, a bit small but good!