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Fishing time = thinking time

July 30, 2011

Mankind should take fishing lessons from Great Blue Herons. They have patience to wait ... and wait ... and wait ... for just the right time to make a move. People, on the other hand, in our fast paced society, may go fishing and expect the line to grow tight immediately after it is thrown in the water. That is not how nature works. From the perspective of the fish, all people are equal. The fish doesn't care who you are, rich or poor, smart or not, nicely dressed or not, expensive gear or plain old cane pole.

Time spent fishing should and can teach one to be patient. It is walk-time compared to running. Taking one's time offers greater comfort. Fishing times immerse you into nature. To understand her, you must see, smell, hear, taste, feel and absorb her. In other words, you must take time to "smell the roses" or you will miss too many of the neat things nature has to offer. So, to combat America's hurry-up sickness, don't go running to your next fishing spot. Walk slowly. You can't think when you run. You can think when you walk.


Article Photos

A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) offers a unique composition for this scribe’s camera during a recent foray to Hendrickson Marsh. Great Blue Herons are very common birds in wetlands, streams, rivers or lake edges. They feed primarily on fish which they capture using their spear-like bill.  Using extreme patience, they will wait in shallow waters for a fish to get within range. Herons are big, having a wingspan of six feet, and stand 46 inches tall. They pull their long neck into a tight “S” curve during flight while its long legs are held straight back.

True story: First time good luck was smiling on 47-year-old Annette Gutierrez when she had two days time off from work, something that hardly ever happens for this truck driver lady working out of Fairbanks, Alaska.

She and friends decide to go halibut fishing on July 2 of this year. She had never been fishing before in her entire life. Now she is on a boat going far out to sea, four hours worth of travel one way out of Valdez, AK, to get to the fishing site. It is also halibut derby fishing time.

Within the first hour of fishing, she felt a great tug on her line and started the long process of reeling in the fish. All on board thought it would be a nice 30 or 40 pounder. It took more than 30 minutes to bring the fish in. But when the fish finally got close to the surface, all kinds of laughter turned dead serious. This was a monster halibut fish on the end of her line. To make this long story short, her first fishing trip ever, her first time in a big boat out in the open ocean, her first fish turned out to be a 335.7 pound halibut. It was 87 and one-half inches long. It won her a first place prize money of $15,000 in the Valdez Halibut Derby.


DEER do strange things from time to time. We all know that early fall antics of buck deer as they scratch the velvet off their antlers and rub trees into oblivion. If the tree happens to be a nice ornamental specimen, homeowners are not too pleased.

Here are a few other examples of deer antler mishaps. A buck pushes against a five gallon plastic bucket and it becomes solidly wedged between the antler beams. His image and funny headgear is caught on a trail camera. Trail cameras have also recorded a buck with a blue plastic rain tarp entangled on his head. Another camera captured a buck with a basketball hoop, net and all, as part of his headgear. Other images have noted great tufts of hay, or tent remnants, barbed wire or Christmas lights.


On Aug. 15, Iowa deer hunters can begin their purchase of licenses for the 2011-12 season. There are more than 900 license sales outlets in various stores throughout the Hawkeye State. Marshalltown's City hunt will begin in mid September. Archery season statewide begins Oct. 1. Early muzzleloader season is Oct.r 15 through the 23. Shotgun season one is Dec. 3 - 7. Season two is Dec. 10 - 18.


Aug. 11 is the next Iowa DNR Commission meeting. At that time, waterfowl seasons will be set for 2011-12. Expect similar dates and bag limits to last year. Specific details for ducks and geese will be published after the meeting. Stay tuned.


A mountain lion from South Dakota's Black Hills made a long journey, all the way to Milford, Conn., a distance of more than 1,500 miles. A motorist accidentally hit the big cat and killed it on the Wilbur Cross Parkway. DNA analysis of the cat confirmed it was from South Dakota. This was also the same mountain lion that was seen several times in Minnesota and Wisconsin in late 2009 and early 2010. Hair, blood and scat samples from Minnesota and Wisconsin documented the cat's origin as the Black Hills. DNA samples at Connecticut were identical matches to the midwest data. For the Connecticut folks, this long distance feline represents the first confirmed cougar in more than100 years. It speaks to the tenacity and adaptability of mountain lions as they disperse from 'overcrowded' local conditions.

Marshall County's trail camera documentation of a mountain lion in Iowa took place in October 2004. Only a small handful of cougars are likely to be passing through Iowa at any one time as they disperse from their mother's home range of the Black Hills.


When a fisherman says he will only be gone half a day, he means the first twelve hours.


Garry Brandenburg is a graduate of Iowa State University with BS degree in Fish & Wildlife Biology. He is the retired director of the Marshall County Conservation Board. Contact him at PO Box 96, Albion, IA 50005.



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