Along The Trail 5-23-13

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The last weekend of turkey hunting season looked as though it was going to be a washout as I woke up to a downpour coupled with a few claps of thunder.

The weather forecast was bleak.

I pondered my plans as I looked at the rain coming down against the kitchen window. After a few seconds, I decided to throw in the towel on my hunt and vacation day and head into work.

Dodging the rain drops and into the car, I’m still running on early morning, auto-pilot as I try to get myself bright eyed and ready to work. This spring – and turkey season for that matter – has been a gray, cloudy one and my mood has been too.

Other than opening day, I hadn’t even seen many turkeys or had any opportunities for a shot.

To say this season was a rough one would be an understatement for me, and now more rain to wash away any hopes for hunting and time in the woods.

I drive the familiar route, wipers squeaking across the windshield as the rain has now turned into a sprinkle.

Antioch Bridge over Grant’s Creek, and the creek has risen over night. Not that gully-washing, muddy, driftwood everywhere kind of rise.

No, this was a slow rise. The kind when the Ohio backs up at a snail’s pace and the creek slips out of her banks and into the bottoms and fields along her edge. A clear water rise.

Suddenly, my gray mood lightens as I round the bend towards the bridge. Warm weather and a backed up creek with flooded bottoms means one thing for this bowhunter – the carp spawn and perfect conditions for bowfishing!

I slow down to get a better look and my suspicion was right, the orange and gray, sucker-mouthed fish were splashing and rolling in the flooded field by the hundreds! I know where I will be this afternoon once the work day is done!

I managed to get through the work day and as I rushed back out Antioch Road towards home, I spied even more fish in the bottoms, fish literally stacked on top each other as they fought for the best spots to spawn. I gathered my old bowfishing gear and made a bee-line back to the creek.

It was still spitting rain, but the air was warm and the chance to be outside and opportunity to fish/hunt made it more than worth a few rain drops.

I slipped over the bridge and made my way through the waist-high weeds to edge of the water. Dozens and dozens of carp, rolling on one another, fins out of the water…

It didn’t take long before a shot presented itself.

I’m ready, bow arm in position, draw and release the heavy, fiberglass arrow. The water explodes as the big fish races and peels line off of the hoop reel attached to the front of the recurve bow. I hand-wind the line back in and slip a solid 10-pounder off of my arrow and carry the fish over the field and lay it in the high grass.

The action continued, fast and furious for over an hour with plenty of shots and plenty of carp taken. The shear number of fish that had gathered in the flooded weeds of the field was mind boggling, literally hundreds if not more.

My fingers were worn raw and blistered from winding and re-winding the braided fishing line.

Finally, the weather pushed me and the fish out of the field. Thunder and a few strikes of lightning ushered in a deluge of rain. I was soaked to the bone, smelled like black mud and covered with fish scales and slime, but I was grinning ear to ear as I made my way back to the car.

That morning found me blue and feeling sorry for myself because the rain had changed my hunting plans, but if you just look around for opportunities and lose the negative attitude, He will give you plenty of chances to enjoy yourself.

Like they say, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

– David Hewitt