NANFA-- River Reef Report...Thursday

kahley (
Mon, 09 Jul 2001 09:44:42 -0500

The river was more muddy today than yesterday. Perhaps it was
rain upstream or maybe it just hasn't settled from the mixmaster effect of
the July 4th traffic. I contented myself with maintenance chores. Digging and
hauling the sand and shells built up over the winter. The river has slowed
and lowered
to the point where I can do this. Digging underwater is hard work, especially
when being buffeted by wakes but if I don't do it, eventually the reefs
will be buried
with the build up. I have noticed that there is nearly a foot of shells
and sand out
beyond the log reef which means the space under the big log is clogged.
Once I can get out there and clean it out, perhaps the big bass will move back
onto the reef. The level and flow are dropping rapidly. It won't be long
till it clears.
For now I content myself with clearing out the inner reefs. I did feed
today and
generously...hoping to draw out the catfish for a better look. Curly is a
since she has moved back into the reef and the smell of food drew the other
Since they are aging and getting scarred and marked as all aging things do,
I can
tell them apart. One has a series of two paler spots on his head and is named
Spot. The other has spots arranged as a "T" and is named Mr. T (I have no
The other, I think is a stranger since he is very wary of me and subject to
thrashing flights so I have named him Mad Tom. The three semi tame ones will
once again take food from my hand and _almost_ let me touch them. They have
no problem with touching me, of course and occasionally nail a finger as
they go
for the food. I again saw a juvenile of about four inches. I know there
are at
least four on the reef. I wonder why I never see any intermediate aged
Only the young and my four behemoths. Not since Curly and crew first showed
up, have I seen catfish in the foot range. Still no sign of Whitey who was
truly huge
.........not especially long but round.

Just down stream from the reef, there was a boat parked with a family
enjoying the
day as best as the cool temps allowed. At one point, I saw that the kids were
netting minnows for the father to use for bait. I watched from the boat as
he hooked
something. From the play, I knew it was a catfish. Why didn't they stay up on
the reef where at least while I was there, they'd be safe. I watched as he
finally landed
the fish and dumped it on the deck. He picked it up for the traditional
"hero" shot
with his finger stuffed in the gills. I couldn't watch anymore.

I know these are wild fish and I have no right to tell people to leave them
alone. I
just can't stand to watch it. I was tempted to ask how he'd feel if I
threw a hook,
baited with a hotdog till I got the attention of his yappy little dog,
played him till he
gave up and then held him up by the jaw for a picture. I know there are
on the list and I'm not trying to make enemies. I just don't get the
thrill, that's all.
For me the thrill is seeing them in the water.

I returned to my digging and on surfacing, I saw he was at it again. How
many of
the catfish would survive this guy's afternoon entertainment? Again the
and as I watched from just 20yds away, he must have seen the worry on my face.
"Do you have names for them?" he asked. "Yes" was all I could politely manage.
"They are huge" he replied with a grin. "We put them back" he said. As much
as a relief as that was, I have seen the results of fish that were "put
"My son snorkels your reef. He says it's awesome".

He knows the reef and my connection yet he has no second thoughts about fishing
for my fish right in front of me.

Very cool air temps and a steady, cool wind. I had trouble warming without
the sun.
Around 4, the fisherman finally left and since I smelled rain and was
shivering, I packed up for the run home. The last 1/4 mile was a killer
with the waves
breaking over the bow but I beat the rain.

This was not a good day. And worse yet, he is a seasonal renter at a
nearby campground.
So I guess I'd better get used to it or kill him and get it over with (just
kidding), but he
is lucky that thoughts don't kill nor looks either. It's a HUGE river and
there are catfish
taken that hit 30 inches so mine are nothing special. Why can't he fish
someplace else.
Why here and go for fish that are so tame you they will eat from your
hand? Who will
be missing tomorrow? Who will be damaged by rough handling with dry hands and
squirming on dry carpet? Not a good day.....

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