Buffalo Madness and Memories!
Finally a free day to do what I want had surfaced! All assigned chores from spouse or family had been completed or at least could be postponed! The plan would be to take my trusty Lund Alaskan boat out to Lake Shelbyville and try my hand at Carp or Rough fish shooting with my old bow. The decision was made to leave the boat as the Old Mercury attached to it was not as trustworthy. Outboards often have a mean streak making them the headache of the day despite your best intentions! Today, I would walk the bank!
At the lake, upon leaving my vehicle, one could not hope but notice the water level was a little higher than wanted and wind a little heavier. The vegetation visible above the water line was occasionally moved by the Carp sucking beneath but not enough sustained and close proximity action was noted. Moving slowly around the bank, avoiding the wind, almost so steep to guarantee falling into the drink if any slip in the mud occurred, loud splashing and noted wave action indicated spawning fish in a somewhat protected cove ahead!
Sure enough! Buffalo in spawn were working up against the bank but only for about a five second intervals. After determining the most used bank lines by the fish – the bow with arrow attached was readied and the slow methodical approach was utilized. Fish must be able to feel vibrations from the bank and see approaching human predators either through sight or change in shadow. Although action was found – patience and silence would need to be practiced to get close enough for a shot!
Suddenly, a pair of big Buffalo males swarming a female rubbed up against the bank revealing enough of their heft to enable a quick shot! The arrow was off. Expecting a miss – the sight of the line quickly moving away with no arrow visible proved otherwise! The line was retrieved slowly revealing a large fish in the fifteen to twenty pound category! Being careful to ensure the fiberglass arrow did not get pulled out in retrieval was nullified when to my surprise the pass through shot had the fish entangled with the fish line proving impossible to escape for my first fish!
The working fish always seemed to be where I was not but ground was held awaiting another shot. After a few hours, several good sized specimens had been taken. With too much fish weight to carry, a devised fish stringer was improvised to allow dragging the fish through the water to my truck. As the final fifteen yards was scaled dragging my catch – my huffing and puffing was quite profuse! At the road bed level at my parking spot, to my surprise, was an attractive female standing with fishing pole and tackle in tow! She had stopped to investigate the obvious straining to make sure of my continued ability to function properly!
Although in my mind, my physique is that of a “rough and tough” Marine – the female at hand probably thought she was witnessing the activities of a nursing home escapee! She advised of previous nursing experience further deflating my male ego! After assuring her of my ability to continued functioning, she was quite complementary over the haul pulled in. She introduced herself and we had a long conversation – possibly flirting in my mind but probably just appeasing an old man in hers! As we parted, my overly active imagination began to subside but at least it was successful day afield for bow fishing!
Only a few trips were completed at the lake with success before other duties beckoned and my ultimate return, by this time, the spawn had run its course and activity had slowed. My “fit to fight” female acquaintance was not around but I wish to thank Mindy McPheeters for taking pictures of my earlier fish and looking after my well – being in our earlier encounter!
It seems only a moment has expired when I think of my first bow fishing trip to Bayou Creek Slough near the Ohio river where I connected with my first fish in Water Lilly pad vegetation growing in the slough at the ripe old age of fifteen. Time spent on the water in pursuit of this sport has been productive, satisfying and sometimes surprising!