This week reminded me that the leaves are starting to change. It’s a bit early, but forecasters are predicting a bright but short-lived color sooner than usual. The birds also pack it up and fly south. Snowbirds we call them. Snowbirds, without flight feathers, are also beginning to migrate south.
Jimmy Roberts of Prosperity and his wife, Sandy, will be among them. In a few months, my phone will ring and he will be calling to check on me. He will ask me questions about our weather, which will be cold and probably rainy, then he will tell me that he is in shorts and a t-shirt somewhere in the sun. He will tell me about the weather in Florida and all the fish he caught. We always talk about the number of migrants from Ontario and Canada who come down from their big fishing to get warm weather and keep fishing. Of course, I’m going to be cranky and tell him how much I hate him.
Now I’m no longer a snowbird, but I remember fishing once in Florida off Fort Myers on Sanibel Island. If you’ve been there before, it’s a beautiful island with great fishing. I threw snook or baby tarpon in the Ding Darling reserve. Eileen used shrimp and caught a lot of spotted trout. I looked back and there were 10 cars stopped on the freeway driving through the park taking pictures of us catching fish.
Yes, I love fishing in the ocean, but this time of year is a great time to fish for steelhead in Lake Erie and the mouths and streams that surround it. Places like Elk Creek and Walnut Creek that maybe had a visitor or two a month ago will have hundreds when the fish spawn. People will come out with their nine foot noodle rods to try and hook one of these big fish. From now until extreme winter conditions, these fish will be caught on heavier lines on sacks of salmon roe. Using a lighter line to catch one of them makes the catch more fun. If you hook one up and yell “fish” most people will force themselves and come out of the water and watch you fight this monster leaping towards the shore. A friend of mine, Joe Smith from Eighty Four, caught one that weighed over 20 pounds here. It’s a big fish. If you visit him at the bait shop, you can talk to him about it. I caught quite a few in the 8-10 pound category myself and they feel huge. If you have the opportunity to go, you must have the correct license.
September and October are busy months with almost too much to do. The outdoor enthusiast who hasn’t been out with his rifle all year round suddenly needs a club or a shooting range. This year, with all the shortages of ammunition and gun supplies, including reloading, we all feel the anxiety of wasting any ammunition. This has yet to be done so we need to find some extras and get to the view before the deer season starts. We are all shooting three groups of shots instead of five groups of shots. Unless the availability of ammo and supplies opens up, I wonder if there will be fewer hunters in the woods. Like-minded people share ammo and reload supplies. I guess those of us who have been around for a long time are probably a little better because we have a stock of product. The shortage is not just the most popular items, but all phases of shooting supplies. I have a friend who requested primers last week.
This too must pass. One day, I hope these shortages will be over. But for now, stay on top of what you have and can get. You may have to sacrifice what you want for what you need to get ammo if you can find it. So share with your friends and we will all survive it.
George Block writes a weekly column on the outdoors for the Observer-Reporter.