Nice way to spend a winter day!

Captain Dickie Colburn – For The Record

“Well…did y’all have a good day?” asked Gene Locke while helping tie off my bow rope back at the dock.Without hesitation, both clients nodded their heads in a positive direction and continued unloading their waders, rods and a lot of stuff they could have left at home.

By the time they had dried off and loaded their gear in their truck I was cleaning the last of the eight trout and one redfish that we had to show for seven hour of wading.“If they think that’s good,” they should have fished with you yesterday offered a helpful onlooker gathered around the cleaning table.

“Good” is a relative term when rating a fishing trip.The variables that can affect the outcome range all the way from the weather to lack of sleep the night before.Number or size of the fish is always the ultimate measuring stick for the casual angler, but for hard core fishermen looking for that one big trout bite, the term “good” takes on an entirely different meaning.

The day before this trip, we did not wade and the fish fed all morning on a dead calm lake.When we couldn’t get bit fishing the shoreline, all we had to do was ease back out into the open lake and fish under the gulls.Nine slot reds satisfied the itch to catch a big fish and we had plenty of trout to go around.As far as they were concerned, they had a “good”day.

On this particular trip, the nine fish lying on the cleanout table were not indicative of how successful the day had been.It had rained most of the morning, the wind was howling out of the northeast and we were limited to fishing only two small areas on the Louisiana shoreline.The bottom in neither area was user-friendly as the knee deep mud made each step a challenge.

What was never mentioned at the cleaning table was that they kept the one red to grill only because they were tired of eating turkey.Over the course of the day they had cussed and released at least a dozen more that ambushed their Corkys. The eldest of my two clients had also caught and released his first eight pound trout and, as he reminded me several times over the course of the day, “When you’re seventy-six the window is quickly closing.”

The trip was “good” enough in fact that they booked two more the following week before leaving.Big trout or not, very few anglers would have listed that day in the “good trip” column.“Good” is definitely a response not to be taken at face value!

While on the subject of wading for big trout, I have possibly experienced every mishap short of drowning and, fortunately, most have been more comical than painful. Aside from simply tripping and filling my waders with cold brackish water on far too many occasions, I have also dropped everything from pocket knives to instant cameras in water too deep and murky to warrant hunting them.

About the time you think that you have seen or done it all, however, you witness one more “uh-oh” you would never have even considered.Upon climbing back in the boat after a two hour wade recently, one of my two young clients asked his brother to help him pull his waders off.Thinking that he had simply had enough, I asked him if he preferred to stay in the boat and drift fish the remainder of the day.

He didn’t acknowledge the question and never made eye-contact while sheepishly thrusting his arm deep into the right leg of his waders.With a smile of relief, he extracted his cell phone from the wader boot.“I thought that I had put it back in my pocket until I felt something vibrating every few minutes on the side of my calf,” he stated while checking his missed calls. “I missed my pocket after answering a call, but at least I didn’t drop it in the lake.”

Sometimes “good” is just finding a dry cell phone!