Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Gone Fishin'

Don't forget, y'all! Today is the day to support Heather's fundraiser over at BooMama's. Click on the button for the details. It will take you to BooMama's post and directions on how to help Heather with expenses for treatment of her brain tumor. Above all, let's keep lifting her up in prayer.

Thanks, y'all.

Tuesday was a beautiful day here in Northeast Arkansas. The sun was shining, the sky was a deep glorious blue, there were a few fluffy white clouds and it was breezy and warm. A perfect day to go fishing, wouldn't you think?

Only two real problems. Nobody told the fish they were supposed to bite, and the buffalo gnats (like that one to the left there) worried the livin' daylights out of us. (For some strange reason, I have a continuous loop of "Buffalo Gnats, Won't You Come Out Tonight" running through my head right now. I never said I was entirely sane.)

If you've never had the pleasure of experiencing buffalo gnats, count your many blessings, y'all. (Another song, and a favorite hymn for this Baptist girl, at that.)

Gnats bite and leave big itchy bumps in their wake, not to mention they fog around you and crawl all over any exposed skin. The absolute worst though is that they get in your ears and do that high-pitched whining buzz, and they do their teetotal best to get in your eyes and mouth. They get in your hair and buzz or crawl on your scalp, and any time you're still they'll bite a plug out of your hide.

Before anybody suggests insect repellent, I'm allergic to all of them. It's ugly, folks. I swell up and turn red, get nauseous and light headed, the works. I just have to suffer with the bugs or leave the buggy vicinity, that's all.

Of course, neither of those small inconveniences kept me, my sister Sue and her husband Charles from having a good time in spite of them. We went about 30 miles south to fish in the St. Francis River Floodway, about 7 miles south of Marked Tree, Arkansas. As you can see from the picture, it was beautiful today, but our trees and foliage were frostbitten in the recent cold snap and some of the trees are still not fully leafed out.

The next picture is the view north, upstream. We were mainly fishing for catfish and they tend to like swift water with a lot of snags and sunken treetops to lurk under while they decide whether or not they want to bite your hook. Usually they don't. Anyway that's been my luck lately.

I did add to my tan today, which will irk Jessica to no end. She pays to go to the tanning bed and I tan more easily and with less exposure just going fishing or sitting out in the yard. Plus I don't have to pay for mine. She had the misfortune to inherit her Daddy's pasty white skin that blisters and turns red instead of tanning. I inherited my Daddy's Indian coloring and just keep getting darker with each exposure to the sun.

Sue caught a blue catfish about 10 or 15 minutes after we got our hooks in the water. That's an image of a blue cat there to the left. Sue's fish weighed about a pound and a quarter, I guess. Good eating size, but not huge.

I caught the next fish, but it wasn't a variety we like to eat at all. It was a drum and they are so bony they're not worth cleaning and cooking in my opinion. I guess they taste okay, but by the time you pick all the bones out you're hungry again from all the work. A person can starve to death or choke to death on a bone trying to eat a drum.

I got all the fish pictures and the gnat pic from Google Images. I don't know if drum vary in coloration from place to place, but the ones we catch around here are silvery white, not greenish like the one in the picture. They look just the same except for the coloring.

This is the view directly in front of us. The picture is a bit deceptive, because the water was really swift, especially after the torrential rains we had only a few days ago. The water is muddy for the same reason. Only in the mountains are some of the streams clear. Here in the Delta all the runoff from the fields and surrounding land keep the rivers muddy. There are no rocky riverbeds to cleanse the suspended topsoil from the water. All the riverbeds are sandy and silty here.

I caught the next and final fish of the day. This is a flathead catfish. It may look homely to you, but to a serious fisherman and a dedicated catfish consumer, this is the Cadillac of catfish. All catfish are good eatin', but to a catfish connoisseur, flatheads are simply the best. (Now I've got Tina Turner's "Simply The Best"playing on my own personal iPod in my mind.)

The flathead specimen I caught weighed about the same as Sue's blue cat, about a pound and a quarter. We kept both in a cooler full of ditch water, hoping we'd catch enough of their friends to go with them to have enough for a fish fry, but alas, it wasn't to be. We ended up throwing them both back to hopefully grow some more and be caught again when they're bigger.

This is the view to my right, downstream. It looks green and lush, but in a few weeks the foliage and brush will be 4 times that thick. I did notice that the poison oak didn't seem to be damaged at all by the recent freezing weather and looked very healthy. There was a big clump of the itch provoking weed just out of the picture, to the right. I made absolutely sure I stayed a safe distance from it. I really don't need a case of the itch that keeps on itching.

Even though we didn't catch enough fish to keep, I had fried catfish for supper anyway. My nephew Danny gave me a mess of catfish recently that I've had in the freezer, saving it for a day such as this. I have to say it was pretty good, but fish always makes me thirsty. I've had 3 Diet Cokes and I'm still drinking like a camel headed out into the desert for summer maneuvers.

Well I figure everyone is pretty much bored out of their minds with my posts about fishing, so I'll post this one and try to come up with something else for my next post.

I hope everyone has a great rest of the week.

My love and blessings to all,


Jen said...

are gnats like mosquitos they sound similar we have mosquitos here in New Zealand but not gnats

youve been busy with your fishing this week havent you :)

blessings to you Diane

Big Mama said...

Those buffalo gnats sound terrible. It'd be enough to make me not care about eating fried catfish for dinner.

Or maybe not. :-)

Diane said...

Are buffalo gnats like the "no-see-ums" that are relentless every time we visit Florida? Can't see 'em, but you can sure feel 'em!

And, Diane, my friend...you are NEVER boring! Love! Love! Love! your posts...each and every one of them. I can feel the relaxation of this one...even if the fish were busy avoiding your bait!



Tammy said...

Yikes! Up here in Oregon, we don't have buffalo gnants...in fact, I had never heard of them!
There's suppose to be some sort of Avon stuff that works like insect repellent but the name escapes me at the moment.
But this was fun to read...:)

Morning Glory said...

For some reason, I'm hearing the whistled tune from the old Andy Griffith Show running through my brain. I can just imagine all of you walking along, jeans rolled up, feet bare with a fishin' pole over your shoulder. Sounds totally fun and relaxing.

Susie said...

Those gnats sounds vicious! The product Tammy was trying to think of is Skin So Soft by Avon. It really works :)
Glad you were able to spend the day doing something you love.

Dawn said...

It's nice that you had an invisible Ipod with you today - and free, just like your tanning! Too funny.

I've only been fishing once in my life, from a boat. It never interested me, but except for the horrible gnats, you make it sound like something enjoyable! I don't like the idea of the work afterward, though.

Check out my Wordless Wednesday today - it'll give you a good chuckle.

PEA said...

You could never bore us dear Diane but dang it woman, you've put all those songs in my mind too now! lol Ugh, those buffalo gnats sound as irritating as our mosquitos...they eat us alive over here!! Sounds like a fun day of fishing...I've seen catfish before and always thought they were the ugliest fish around but you're right they are tasty! lol My dad and uncles use to fish a lot:-) have a wonderful weekend my friend...see you when I get back! xoxo

Linda said...

It sounds like another wonderful day to me - except for those gnats. Yikes!!!
You did a great job with all the pictures Diane. You are a clever girl!!

Myrna said...

Not boring! I'm fascinated by the fishing since I have not been fishing in about 40 years! The gnats--you can have 'em!

Rachel said...

Sure is a pretty place to fish! Too bad you didn't have better luck. It was probably too muddy for them to see the bait!! :)

I don't want any of those buffalo gnats on me! Mosquitos are enough of a royal pain.

Brenda said...

You need to get a patent on that iPod implant, girl. People will pay good money for ANYTHING these days!

Seriously though, speaking of good money - and I mean REAL good - have you seen the latest total? Praise the Lord!

Mountain Mama said...

That sounds like some fishing trip! I wonder if the buffalo gnats make good bait?
When I was a kid, dad would send us out looking for June bugs. We used to see them a lot more than we do now. Dad liked to use them for bait. He was a fisherman from the time he was just a little boy. Did a good job of it too. We always had salmon.
Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I enjoyed it.

Greeneyes said...

I love your fishing adventures , and esp the pics , your bugs look like out stouts , they bite and take a chunk with them and are ITCHY!
I heard that Bounce (UNUSED) dryer sheet keep bugs at bay ,I have tried them and had some relief , depending on the bug . Tie a couple on belt,hat etc , cant hurt ,unless you are sensitive to them as well ,and can use them after fishing LOL .also skin so soft(AVON) bath oil spray is said to help ,if u have it ,worth a try .
your cat fish sound yummy wish I could share . looks like fun was had by all , wonderful ,hope you go again soon
love ya Dear Friend

kansasrose said...

Hi hon..I hear ya on the gnats. Have you ever tried the usound thing you wear around your neck? MY MIL got me one for my birthday a few years ago and I was skeptical but they do work! It keeps the mosquitos and gnats at bay. It emits a high pitched hum that drives the bugs nuts so they don't come near you. They think you are a giant insect predator sor something. I can't hear the hum but the nasty bugs can. I think Wal Mart sells them in the repellant aisles. The fish sounds great. You are quite the fisherwoman D! Pan fried cat fish is yummy! Do you use cracker crumbs? Love, Jen