A recent column on fishing a clear rise whetted the angling appetite
of several readers, but some posed yet another problem (if fishing can
be anything other than sheer joy): How about high, muddy water?," they
Well, there is plenty of high, muddy water out there now, (thanks to
the weekend rains and their predecessors, but that is no reason for curtailing
angling activities--especially so far as the catfish species are concerned.
And while the whiskered denizens characteristically like muddy water
better than most other species, all species (even the so-called game fish)
are activated by high, muddy water. True, fishing for bass or other game
fish on artificial lures is a greater test in cloudy water situations,
but it is not impossible.
I don't know how those who take the scientific route explain it (I have
never read or heard their explanations). But the old folks (anglers all)
at Crothersville, my old home town, believed game fish (especially bass)
fed by sight and sound, and the others (including the catfish) fed by scent
and sensation, the latter being conveyed to the fish through its whiskers.
"That's the reason," my father, an ardent and knowledgeable catfish
fan, used to say, "when you see catfish in water, their heads are always
moving from side to side."
I checked that out at a place called the Millpond. Late in the afternoon
I would wade into the pond to stir up the mucky bottom and this would bring
every bullhead catfish to the surface. And every single one of them hung
straight down in the muddy water, their heads on the surface and moving
from side to side. I think this may be natural movement for a swimming
catfish, but those whiskers always are out there, and they most assuredly
are used in finding food.
Pete Johns, one of my river-rat friends on the Tippecanoe River, is
a strong advocate of high, muddy-water fishing. Pete lives on the banks
of the Tippe, half a mile or so below Oakdale Dam (Lake Freeman).
When the river is high and muddy, Pete shuns the fast-flowing water
of the channel to place his natural/live baits in inundated weeds very
close to the edge of the water.
"Right in the weeds," Pete says . . . "that's where the fish are." They
dine on channel cat filets often at Pete's place.
Pete likes a No. 4 light wire hook (it has a gap--distance between point
and shank--a bit less than half an inch). And while shad entrails are the
all-time favorite bait for forktails, Pete likes red worms . . . three
or four gobbed (hooked several times to create a "gob" that covers most
of the hook).
I had my first "lesson" in fishing in-close weeds covered by muddy water
as a kid on the Little Dredge Ditch west of my hometown in the flood plain
of the Vernon (West) Fork of the Muscatatuck River. However coincidental
it may have been, it still was a lesson of value.
The creek was probably six feet above normal and running fast. Everyone
in the crowd had long poles and could place their baits (garden worms and
night crawlers) beyond the weeds in he swift water. The pole I was using
(this was hook-and line stuff) wouldn't permit me to get my bait beyond
the weeds, so I fished in them.
I caught the largest bullhead of the day, not to mention several others,
and the weeds became the place to fish.
First stage of the wild black raspberry season is here (the central
part of the state), This translates into the height of the season in the
southern third of the state, and "coming soon" in northern tier counties.
One of the best black raspberry applications I know is the cobbler
recipe on the "Wild Recipes" page of
this website. But this beautiful berry--found everywhere in Hoosierland--can
be the prime ingredient for everything from pies to jelly, jam, and wine.
In their most simple application, half a cup of chilled berries floating
in the half-and-half or sweet cream that is drowning my morning cereal
is not a thing that I view through jaundiced eyes.
thumbnail image to see enlarged view.
are many applictions for wild black raspberries . . . This simply made,
tasty cobbler is one of the best.
a cup of chilled berries with morning cereal is not a bad way to breakfast
. . . or even lunch . . .