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Ted Peck

Outdoors talk with certified Merchant Marine Captain Ted Peck.

Peck: Good weekend to fish in the buff

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Ted Peck
Saturday, May 27, 2017

We are halfway through the Memorial Day weekend—the official kick off of summer.

Legions of people who spend most of the year treating the outdoors as an alien environment will discover the joys of poison ivy, wild mustard, nettles and a host of biting bugs.

Those who survive have an even better chance to explore the real world next weekend, with the DNR waiving licenses and fees statewide in what they are calling “Free Fun Weekend.”

Check out the Wisconsin DNR website on your shiny object while waiting to see the Doc at the local convenient care facility for that itchy bullseye-shaped welt on the back of your arm early next week.

Normally I retreat to hidden waters deep in the North Woods on Memorial Day, with the kayak looking for pike and playing strip euchre with my Sasquatch buddies, who always lose because they’re “nekkid” anyway.

I’ll likely be fishing Lake Kegonsa this weekend and next, where jumbo bluegills are just now moving close to shore where foregathering off of main lake points and along the developing weedline to spawn.

Serious fishers believe there are only two tribes brandishing fishing poles on the Madison chain this weekend: the “Clowns” and the “Idiots.” It is rumored that one clan sports red bandanas and the other blue.

I don’t know about that. But I do know there are some HUGE bluegills out there that are worth facing scorn and ridicule from peers to go after. I also know the real slabbers can’t resist a little jig/fly called the Bimbo Skunk, which is most effective when offered up on a flyrod.

The Bimbo Skunk weighs just 1/80 ounce. This allows the little black bait with a stripe down its spine to waft slowly through the water column above spawning bluegills—which see the lure as both threat and dinner.

The Skunk will catch a pile of fish when tipped with a waxworm and suspended under a very small pencil float. It might even tempt a few hanging under one of those basketball-sized red and white plastic bobbers. But any bluegill of at least hand-sized dimensions will flee with great haste.

A little three-weight flyrod with a 1X tippet is the best way to present a Bimbo Skunk in a way that will goad those orange-breasted bulls to come out and dance.

I have just such a wand. This delicate St. Croix rod is surely a thing of beauty in the hands of someone who knows how to use it, which I don’t.

From a distance my flyfishing presentation generates comments like “the hornets must be after him” and “he needs to change his seizure medicine.”

One option is to practice technique on a small North Country pond where the Sasquatch boys would be the only witnesses and you can fish wearing just a loincloth without fear of retribution.

Unfortunately, bluegills aren’t on the spawning beds up north yet like they are here in southern Wisconsin.

Sporting either a red or blue bandana would identify me as either a “Clown” or an “Idiot,” neither of which is beneficial to a person who considers himself a professional angler.

But the opportunity to catch an honest 10-inch bluegill is just too much to resist. Fortunately, St. Croix came to the rescue. When I purchased this rod and a couple of others the company was having a promotion, giving away free “buffs.”

The buff is a facial scarf designed to protect outdoors folks from the ravages of skin cancer. Too late for me. The skin damage has already been done after a lifetime in the outdoors without SPF 50.

If you happen to cruise by Colladay Point tomorrow and see somebody with a flyrod floundering around in the buff, don’t call 9-1-1. First responders will be busy enough this weekend.

God bless ’em. And you stay safe out there, too.

Ted Peck, a certified Merchant Marine captain, is an outdoors columnist for The Gazette. Email him at tedpeck@acegroup.cc.


Last updated: 11:21 pm Saturday, May 27, 2017


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