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Exceptionally dry here

Started by Riley Smith, Oct 28, 2023, 09:09 PM

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Riley Smith

There was a smattering of moisture when I left work yesterday. A mist on a gusty wind, coming off Mobile Bay, giving the windshields freckles. One of the guys asked was it raining before we left because he could smell it in the air. The overload of pollen and dust assaulting my sinus cavities prevented me from detecting it.  Almost everyone is suffering from allergies and sinus problems from it all.
It is really dry here and the precip ahead of the coming front has faltered and faded. Just like it has been doing for months now. The temps are predicted to drop next week and perhaps a big change is coming. If we were in Nigeria this would be considered the dry season anyway. I've seen droughts here before and they're cruel and harsh, but this one is a really long one. It didn't even rain that one day for the county fair and it ALWAYS does that.
Of course, I didn't go anyway. I haven't been to one in years, which is sort of a shame, because you're bound to see someone you haven't seen in FOREVER in this small community. Various churches have pavilions there and they all try to outdo each other on shrimp gumbo, so you're apt to get some of the best on the planet if you know enough to scout out which one has the winner. Maybe I'll have to go next year if I'm still alive and kicking. There are all sorts of exhibits and vendors and it is sort of like a county-wide family/high school/ neighborhood reunion. My mother-in-law used to win the blue ribbon every year for her pound cake. Man, I'd love a piece of one of hers right now.
Yes, we need rain. The pond on one of my friend's property upstate is four feet below normal level. Some of the pine trees are dying. I haven't even checked locally because I didn't want to be disheartened. And no, we're not going to get it this time either. The radar is showing a clear scan. We're over TWO FEET short of rainfall.
There is a Yin to the Yang though. With little rainfall, saltwater wedges itself way up the river and the fishing can be awesome. I haven't been as much this year due to other commitments but I'm considering tonight under an almost full moon. At least it is nice temperature wise.

Wayne Howard

I feel your pain, Riley. Although we are finally getting some rain here in Central Texas. The county just killed the burn ban. But things aren't all rosy. The lake provides water for the downstream parts of the river and it is and has been flowing at minimum flow of 50 CFM. The problem is the rain is still sinking into the dry earth and the upstream flow into the lake is ZERO. So the lake is down to 63.5% of normal and the sunken town of Hancock is visible again. That level means the lake has lost nearly 150,000 acre-feet of water.

But it not really as bad as other places. New Orleans is holding its breath as the salt water has moved 65 miles Above Head of Passes.

The Salt Water Wedge
Wayne Howard
Master and Commander of S/V Impetuous
I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing.


AAAH, full moon fishing!  Fresh water bass here, and the hits to a surface plug is often within less than a second of the splash of the lure.  They seem less likely to be aware of me on the bank, and I cast diagonally from the shore, rather than straight out.

From the pier, walking out causes trembling disturbances out into the pond, so close in is dead, as it normally is in daylight, but a good long cast toward the deepest water produces a chance of a really large bass.

Such luxury is not without a price, as you know, we must feed the critters a bit of our blood, but with the drouth conditions, your skeeters should be in relatively modest numbers.

Sometimes there are little wood ducks on the water, they do not care to fly in the dark, even with a full moon, and paddle quietly toward the far bank, then up to the wooded end.  We still hear them making soft sounds to each other.  If geese happen to be on the water, they fly immediately, as night flying is a normal thing with them.

Down stream from the dam, on the main creek, the barn owl patrols up and down stream with his or her's, distinct "Who cooks for you" call.  If we were in the trailer, we would be unlikely to notice, as it is well insulated, and that keeps the sounds out almost as well as heat and cold.

The down side of fishing at night is cleaning the fish by moon light.  Getting the treble hook out without getting snagged by the other one can be a bit tricky, too.

70 years ago, we would have built a fire beside the pond, and cooked the fish, fresh, but older guys save them for breakfast, with eggs and toast.

Anybody here have leftover baked potato, browned it with sliced onions, add boneless filet's, cover with low heat until done, scramble it all, and add a couple of eggs, cover again until set?  Breakfast was a little later than normal that morning, as we had been fishing at midnight.....

Fond memories of that pond, warm spring morning, not a breath of air moving, and a layer of fog over the cold water, level with the top of the dam.  Turn over my john boat, load in the gear, and slide it gently into the water.  Our movements caused ripples in the fog, as my partner slowly sculled us out into the deep water with his canoe paddle.  I never had oars, just that paddle.  With fog more than 2 feet deep, it slides into the boat, and fills it.  The density is low enough you can see down through it, but it is there.  The water close to the boat is visible, too, but we would be casting out, and the lure would disappear before the splash.  Fascinating as it was, the fish were inactive with such conditions, and we quit with only a few fish.  The fog wet our pants legs, and we became cold, so headed to shore for other things that needed to be done.

Returning to that moonlit night, it was spring turkey season, and that morning after midnight fishing, we were out in the middle of the pond, mid morning, and a nice turkey strolled across the dam.  Martin sculled the john boat to the pier, with as little motions as possible, picked up my shotgun from the pier, and nailed the turkey, which was ignoring us completely.  If we had been on land, that turkey would have been out of there, flying if necessary, and no chance of a shot.

We saw other turkeys, but none  close enough to have a shot, and they were always on their way further out of range.

Fish, though stayed right there in the pond, and waited for us to toss them incentives to snatch a meal.  ;D

Riley Smith

Yes, the skeeters aren't very bad but the ones that are alive are hungry and BIG! Our burn ban is still in effect and everyone has a pile of stuff that needs flames. We have a huge pile there at the Labrot House on the beach, and there you have to wait until there is a north wind to blow the smoke seaward to keep from upsetting all the millionaires. It'll be nice on a cold night with a cutting north wind if that ever comes. A little firewater for the side that doesn't face the flames and maybe some hot dogs when the coals are ready.
 The fishing was hot and heavy but all I caught were sand trout. No, not the ones from Dune, the Gulf Coast kind. Must have caught fifty and the neighbor's grandson was amazed. I was fishing a shrimp lure and he was using bait and there was no comparison.  They're good eating but you have to clean them promptly and I wasn't into it, so they all went back in the water. If I had a large deep sea reel and rod, I'd have used one of the smaller ones for bait. Maybe I would have caught whatever it was that made a huge commotion just outside the lights. It was down current from us fishing, so maybe it was after one of the trout trailing blood. I'm in negotiations with a friend for such a rig, so eventually maybe I'll get into a REAL fight! No telling what it was, but whatever, it would have stripped or broken the line on what I had, no doubt. Jack had seen a huge redfish before I got there so it may have still been around. It's pretty humbling to see some of that stuff and know you'd never hold it on the rod. It was a beautiful night with a great moon and very nice . I got tired of catching the little trout and headed in after about an hour. Time is never wasted on those trips, even if you don't catch anything.