Saturday, March 19, 2016

A Matter of Genetics 3-13-16

Light tackle fishing is more fun perhaps, until the fish you catch is too big for the tackle.


    If you are a beginning fisherman, there are these things you need to always be aware of. You need to know how to adjust the drag on your reel to line size.  You want small line, four pound test most likely, to fish for crappie, because with heavier line, a small jig won’t fall as fast, and won’t look as enticing to a fish because heavier line reduces it’s movement and rate of fall. 
       And there are few crappie that are apt to break that line.  But if you should hook a nice bass or walleye while fishing that light line, you do not have to risk having the line broken if your drag is properly set.

       Usually, I use four-pound line for white bass too, but over the years I have hooked quite a few three-and-a-half to four-pound white bass in a river current that can break that line if the drag isn’t properly set.  If you aren’t knowledgeable in setting the drag properly, then find an experienced angler who can teach you.

       My Uncle Norten, who caught so many big bass over his life as a guide on Ozarks lakes, never set the drag on his Ambassadeur reels, which he swore by.  He just used fourteen-pound line!  He did in fact catch several bass between ten and twelve pounds and some of them were in brush piles that he literally horsed them out of.  But big bass in murky water aren’t bothered by heavy line.

       If you decided you were going to use one of his outfits to fish for trout in the White River you would find trout very skeptical of line that looks like a well rope in that clear water.  I found that to be the case up in those Wind River tributaries below the mountains of Wyoming a couple of weeks back.  I had four-pound line and trout wouldn’t hit my lures in that crystal clear water.  Two-pound line might have made a difference there.

       If you are going to be a successful fisherman you have to learn a lot about line size and equipment.  There are lots of lines and lots of reels, made for ultra-lite fishing to light, medium, heavy and ultra-heavy.  Success depends a great deal in what you are using and how you use the drag on your reel.
       I read this recently… shouldn’t come as much of a shock.  “A new study on steelhead trout in Oregon offers genetic evidence that wild and hatchery fish are different at the DNA level, and that they can become different with surprising speed. The research found that after one generation of hatchery culture, the offspring of wild fish and first-generation hatchery fish differed in the activity of more than 700 genes.”

       Anyone who knows anything about the trout park fish here in the Ozarks is aware they are not the same fish as trout multiplying naturally in a mountain stream.  You don’t need the research.  But DNA is being used today to learn a lot about everything.  For instance, a wild human raised in the deep woods and along the rivers of the Ozarks as I was has far different DNA and is much different than a city-raised domesticated humans found in the same region.  I won’t go into that in detail, just use your imagination!

Any time you see a wild gobbler in the Ozarks with a white-
tipped tail you know that somewhere in his ancestry there's
a domestic gene.
       You can see the result of domestic genes introduced into wild turkeys when you see white or gray turkeys in the wild.  But who cares… a wild turkey gobbler is a wary game bird even if his great grandpa was a barnyard gobbler.  
        Some one asked me the other day if this much-earlier-than-ordinary spring and the warm weather would hurt turkey hunting.  Gobblers and hens that have already been mating, and the early nesting that results, won’t hurt turkey hunting when the season opens.  

       It should make gobblers more responsive because they find fewer romantic hens.  Those hens start sitting on nests early, a hunter comes along with an enticing call and the gobblers get even more willing to go looking.

       It is that way with humans too.  When I went off to college, it was obvious that when spring came, us wilder human boys were much more responsive to the alluring glances and sweet talk of college girls.  Some of the city raised college men were a little smarter and more selective, slower to run across campus as the result of one phone call. You can say they had had more experience at a younger age, but I say it’s just a matter of DNA.  These wild human genetics of mine have been a problem for me all my life.  I just can’t sit still long enough to be a good turkey hunter or deer hunter, and I would swim across any creek just to catch a three-pound smallmouth!  All because of wild DNA...

       If you have never hunted wild turkeys before the season opens, you have missed something.  It is a lot easier with a camera, than with a shotgun.  Some think that calling gobblers before the season opens makes them even more wary and hesitant, but that’s the way us grizzled old veteran hunters like it. 

       A difficult gobbler is more of a challenge for us experts and professionals.  You never want it to be easy.  One year I called an old gobbler in at a dead run so anxious to get there he ran through a brush fire and singed his beard down to only an inch or so in length!

       Let me remind all of you who have forgotten, that our Grizzled Old Outdoorsman’s Swap Meet is about upon us.  We still have a couple of free tables available for anyone who has something outdoorsy to sell.  The great majority of our vendors are of wild human genetics!  Plan to be there if you want to see what has been acclaimed by officials and authorities everywhere as the greatest free outdoorsman’s swap meet ever set up in the Midwest.

        I will list the things we know will be sold, and a map of how to get there on this blog, as soon as I get it worked up.
              I think mushrooms may be earlier this year, so we will take some of our daylong trips in April to teach people how to find them.  And we are definitely going to have a Pomme de Terre river cleanup and fish fry in April, a little later than we hoped to do it.  Low water in March delayed that.  You can get on either of those lists by mailing your name and phone number to me at  or writing to me at Box 22, Bolivar, MO 65613. You can even call my executive secretary, Ms. Wiggins, whose DNA has never been looked into, at 417 777 5227.

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