What to do when the fishing slows for summer

So what to do when the calendar turns to July and August, and the shore spots you love become thick with annoying weeds, and the smell of a shallow slough?

A question certainly in need of an answer this year, as weed growth seems to be more of an issue likely due to low water levels, and that is before we get the usual heat of summer.

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The obvious answer is to buy a boat, but without even asking I know the response such a suggestion would garner from the better half, not to mention having to deal with a laughing banker.

Typically, I leave the rods packed over summer, waiting for the cooler days of September to give fishing more of my time. This year with my success rate at an abysmal rate, if I were a baseball player my average would be well below the Mendosa Line, and I’d be destined for demotion to the lower minor leagues. (The Mendoza Lineis an expression in baseball deriving from the name of shortstop Mario Mendoza, whose poor batting average is taken to define the threshold of incompetent hitting.)

So it might be best if I turned to activities related to fishing to hold me over to fall.

One excellent option is to read some ‘fly-fishing’ mysteries; such as Cold Hearted River and A Death In Eden, both by a favoured author of the genre Keith McCafferty.

McCafferty “is the award winning survival and outdoor skills editor of Field & Stream … A two-time National Magazine Awards finalist, he has written articles for Fly Fisherman Magazine, Mother Earth News, and The Chicago Tribune. He lives with his wife in Bozeman, Montana. 

The reason McCafferty’s books top my list likely comes from his extensive background as both a fisherman, and a writer, long before starting to pen mysteries.

“As well as being a novelist for Viking/Penguin Books, Keith McCafferty is the Survival and Outdoor Skills Editor of Field & Stream. He has written articles for publications as diverse as Fly Fisherman MagazineMother Earth NewsGray’s Sporting Journal and the Chicago Tribune, and on subjects ranging from mosquitoes to wolves to mercenaries and exorcism. Based in Montana and working on assignment around the globe–he recently spent a month in India trekking the Himalayas, fishing for golden mahseer and studying tigers–Keith has won numerous awards, including the Robert Traver Award for angling literature. He has twice been a finalist for a National Magazine Award,” details the biography on his website.

McCafferty grabbed my attention a few years back when I read his first fiction novel The Royal Wulff Murders. The book, which draws its name from a trout fly pattern which figures into the mystery’s storyline, introduced part-time river guide, part-time nature painter, and part-tome sleuth Sean Stranahan, and he remains the key figure in the two latest books, numbers six and seven in the outstanding series.

My interest in McCafferty as a writer, and Stranahan as a character only grew with the second book The Gray Ghost Murders released in 2013 followed by Dead Man’s Fancy in 2014 and so on until the two latest gems.

Grab any of McCafferty’s Stranahan books for a relaxing mystery read instead of actually fishing.

Another option is to pull out a board game and as fisherfolk, why not a game that is about our water passion?

If you are on a break from riding around in a boat tossing spoons into the water in hopes a pike will attack it, or are sitting in the cabin waiting for a rain to pass, well this game might be just the ticket.

So what is this game all about?

“You’ve secured your spot as a competitor in the world-renowned Coldwater Crown fishing tournament, and the contest has just begun! Will you be able to cast the right bait at the right time to reel in the biggest fish? Will you be able to strategically balance your efforts at the different fishing locations to win the most trophies? Very little is certain on these frigid waters, but it’s guaranteed the fish will be biting,” details the fluff in the rulebook.

As in fishing, he who catches the most and biggest fish, gets bragging rights for the day.

What designer Brian Suhre has accomplished here is to mimic the actions of a real fisherman on a game board. Frankly, I was skeptical it was possible, but Suhre manages it in almost every sense.

Players get to fish in four different areas; river, lake etc. with a definite element of luck on what species you catch, and how large the fish is, which of course is exactly as it is in real life.

You can’t always fish where you want to either, as other players may have beaten you to the favoured spot, again nicely reflecting reality.

Tagged fish are good, if you have the right coloured tag at game’s end.

This is a game that mimics a fishing tournament, so you can earn points at the end based on size, species caught etc.

You require bait, and when you are out of it, you need to sacrifice at least part of a turn to essentially get to the bait shop for more.

It really all comes together in a rather bang-on representation of actually being out fishing without the sunburn, mosquitos, or touching slimy jackfish.

Coldwater Crown surprised and impressed me, and is flirting with top-five games of 2019, at least six months in.

Check it out at www.bellwethergames.com

And there you have it, a way to stay connected to fishing over the summer months, even if, like me, your actual time tossing spoons wanes in the summer.

© Copyright Yorkton This Week

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