Monday, September 1, 2014

The Dog Days of Fishing in Nebraska

A flathead caught with crankbait.
Every year I hear and read accounts of anglers who think that August is a slow time for fishing. It’s hot, the dog days of summer are upon us, and in most cases, there are more than enough groceries for fish to help themselves too. Fish can be lethargic, seem to disappear, and not be interested in being caught at all. While part of that is true, not all of it is.

It’s true, in lots of cases this year, that fish have all the food they need heading into fall. We are still seeing lots and lots of shad in the Tri County Canal, Johnson Lake, Sherman Reservoir and many others. This can make catching fish difficult at times, no doubt about it. This in turn, leads to the August slowdown. But not always. I try to look at the positive things about having excess shad in the water you’re fishing.

The first, and most obvious, aspect of having lots of shad, is that they provide a great bait source for us anglers. I’ve been throwing the cast net for a few weeks now, and am still learning the best spots to find fish in certain bodies of water. I’m usually looking in backs of coves and near boat docks in water 6 to 8’ deep, or shallower. Some days I’m only throwing the net once or twice because I have more than enough bait. Other days, it takes a bit more effort. Don’t give up until you find the bait, because when you do, you’ll have all you need.

After netting our shad, we often go back to a spring time tactic of live bait rigging these shad, or Lindy Rigging as it’s commonly known. Concentrating on sunken islands, main lake points, and drop offs are always good places to start. The shad are still behind this year, so they’re easy to rig right now due to their smaller size. My cousin tells me he lost an 8-9 lb walleye last week rigging a shad in about 20 feet of water. Tough break.

Another reason abundant shad is a good thing is because sometimes they help you find the fish. This is especially true for finding schooling white bass on the surface. Follow the seagulls that are filling their bellies, and you’ll find white bass, and in some cases wipers, nearby. Walleye and catfishing can also be good in these areas.

If you’re not finding them on top, look for them on your sonar. When you find ‘bait balls’ on your screen, the predators are often seen right next to them. Trolling these areas can be great, as it has been lately at Lake McConaughy. Numerous wipers and walleyes have been caught on crankbaits the past couple of weeks.

Not to be forgotten is a tactic that I love to employ when August rolls around, and that’s trolling cranks specifically for flatheads. I’m under the assumption that I’m one of very few who do this, but let me tell you, it’s a blast. Having a 10 lb walleye hit a crankbait is one thing; having a 20 lb flathead do it is quite different! Of course you’ll want to make obvious upgrades to line and leaders, and sometimes hooks (depending on your baits that you’re using). I have a few crankbaits that I favor over others, but I also believe there are times when as long as you get a wobbling crank near a flathead, they’ll hunt it down. This past weekend I managed to get a 17 pounder in the boat, but had a possibly much larger one snap off a crank with little to no effort. That sure was disheartening. Almost as disappointing as the large wiper I lost trolling cranks the prior week at Jeffrey Reservoir. I haven’t had leadcore strip off a reel that fast in 3 years. Sure was fun to watch.

So don’t let anyone tell you that August is a month to take off from fishing. It simply isn’t true. You can pull cranks, you can drag shad, heck, you can even start using slab spoons when you find bait on your finder. August is a versatile month when lots – and big – fish can be caught. Beat the heat and get your camera ready.

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Robinson
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, August 25, 2014

A Short Post About What I Learned at the University

I began at the University of Nebraska at Omaha when I was just barely 18 and finished My BGS after I turned 30. This post is about two of the most valuable things that I learned in the course “Language and Thought.”  That was the only course I took the spring of 1999 and the final class to complete my degree. That is not to say that I did not learn much along the way in my other studies. They are the scaffolding for my lifelong learning. However, these lessons were so helpful in understanding human behavior and so beneficial to me.  I had many courses dealing with human behavior and development in psychology courses, educational course, and communication courses.  In the midst of these courses, I even took Interpersonal Communication.  In these courses sprung out over many years between 18 months and a semester here and there with no classes as well as several part-time courses, I did relish many insights. Some remembered most forgotten. It is more than the placing these lessons in my very last class that makes them most fresh in my mind. I have thought of them often and will share them now without further ado.

1.  We should not confuse a inference with a fact.  In life, we often confuse the two and consider something a fact that we did not see or witness first hand. Although an inference may be an educated assumption, it may or may not resemble the truth. Why is this so important to me? This reminds me that we often do not know the intensions behind behavior. It is sort of like a blank check that I can apply to many situations if I did not do anything overtly wrong and someone ignores or uses a tone that I do not like. “It’s not me, it’s them!”  They may be tired. It may be hunger. Yes, people are so often preoccupied. They could be thinking about the big test or the mountain of bills to pay. And maybe they are mad at me because they misunderstood something I did. Then again, they could be unfair in being angry when they have no just cause. Yet, I will tend to assume that it is not me in many instances unless there are real signs that I need to address any issues.

It is also the “presumed innocent” card for the other party. I need to be careful not to accuse a person of having ill motives when examining their actions or lack of action. This can be applied to so many situations in life. As much as we think we know why a person did something, we are not mind readers. Being charitable and giving people the benefit of the doubt goes along way.

2.  When we think of an action that someone did in the past, it is good to put a time and a date on the action. While I do believe that a sense of self is not in a constant flux for most people, people do change. That is not to say that we do not need to take precautions and that we should always give someone another chance.  It can ease the pain to keep an event isolated to that time as much as possible. It is more than the time heals wounds that I have found to be true. People changing and growing is a beautiful thing and why should we be bound to the mistakes a person’s former self did. Even if a person has not changed, it is best not to let their past action cloud us from enjoying the present whether or not they are still in our life. Referring back to lesson #1 when I have made overt mistakes, I like to think that I have changed and will not repeat certain mistakes. I hope that nobody has any ill feelings about the mistakes that I made that I do regret. There is a learning curve whether it is larger or smaller for all of us. Someone I met online said he is not easily offended because he knows we are all learning in life. I do believe the adage that being bitter does not make us better.  When you put a time and date on the past, you can move on and live life more fully.

This is not my University education in a nut shell.  It is not just two things I have not forgotten.

-population-we™ blog post by Barb Bohan
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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