Friday, September 26, 2008


If catching bait was easy, there would be no need for bait shops. Bait is one of the most widely talked about subjects that fishermen pursue in their conversations. If they are not talking about where to get bait, or where to catch bait, they are talking about how to present bait to the fish to have a successful catch.It isn’t any different for the jug fisherman.Arkansas Game and Fish Commission regulations allow a licensed fisherman to cast twenty jugs each. However once a jug fisherman gets “dialed in” to the lake, he is not likely to cast as many jugs as the regulations permit. It just simply gets to be too much work and would quickly ruin a good vacation at the lake.They would bring a very small freezer to the lake on a trailer and generally catch enough fish to supply a semi retired couple for a good part of the year.Gathering up a bait trap, the two fishermen and their wives made their way out into the lake traveling to where they would place their second bait trap. The first bait trap had been placed in the inlet where the boats were tied up. They would monitor it through the first day at the lake, to see how the bait catch was going. As the day progressed the depth of the trap would be set deeper or shallower as needed to improve the catch. Nearby the bait trap was a floating bait box where the bait fish would be transfered to, so the constant checking of the trap would not stress those that had been caught already. What to bait the bait fish trap with was often the question. Though they tried different things from time to time, they always seemed to return their old tried and true bait. Stale bread. When someone at the lake had success with something else, they would usually try it. But they seemed to have the most consistent luck with a simple slice of stale bread.This being their first time out on the lake since last year, they were going slow, enjoying every minute as the boat idled down the lake, warming up. As they idled into a inlet known as Campbell’s Pond, they noticed someone’s trot line and decided to continue on down the lake, rather than complicate things for the other fisherman.Nearing Cigar Island they came across a couple that they would see each year at lake Greeson. Recognizing each other, both boats stopped to renew their friendship and trade information. The older couple had been at the lake for eleven days and would have to leave the next day.Their catch had been very good that morning and they had to travel up the lake some distance to recover a couple of their jugs. They related a tale of how they had to travel up near Daisy State Park to retrieve their last jug. It had a seven pound channel catfish on it. The couple related that they had quite a chore ahead of them what with cleaning fish and breaking camp at the same time. The older couple waved as they went on towards camp to clean fish.Putting out their second bait trap was soon accomplished and the conversation in the meantime had been about going back to camp to help the older couple clean fish. Soon it was decided, they headed back to camp to help. That’s one thing about the lake and the early season fishermen there, they were always ready to give a helping hand. Even retired drug dog Dillon, laying near the bow of the boat, seemed to agree with a yipp, as they neared camp.

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