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Trapped between Rock and hard place

Published: Saturday, May 11, 2013 12:39 a.m. CDT

You know, I just knew this would happen. You see, generally things in my little outdoor world happen in perfectly staggered steps in time.

First, it’s the winter channel cats. Then it is on to ice fishin’. Next comes some shed hunting, and then the mushrooms pop. Then it’s on to chasing massive flatheads for the rest of the summer.

But this year, old Mother Nature has really managed to throw a giant wrench into my perfectly planned little world. As the old song says, ”I’m torn between two lovers and feeling like a fool.”

That’s because, in her own special way, old Mommy Nature has managed to drop the two things I love most right square on top of each other.

You got it, man. It’s time to pick mushrooms. The morels are poppin’, and I am all over them.

But wait a minute ... with water temps already into the low-60 range, there’s a problem. The flatheads are biting, too.

That’s a lot of thinkin’ for my pint-size mind to do. I get so frustrated trying to figure out how I’m going to enjoy the best of both of these worlds, it causes me pain. For real. My typical evening has been running something like this ...

I plan a walk in the mushroom woods until mid-day. Then I’ll hop into the boat, get bait and hit the water for some flathead catfish action.

The problem that usually arises is, once I start finding mushrooms, I just can’t seem to pull myself away. It’s like popping open a family-size bag of Doritos. I plan on eating just a few, but I usually end up taking the whole dang bag down.

Waddya do? They're that good.

Or I do the opposite, and plan a little fishing before shroomin’. Then the bite will be slow, and I’ll find myself staring at the wooded bank line until I can no longer take it, and I just have to go shroomin’.

I guess it’s a win-win situation, but in a normal year, the shrooms come first and, just about the time they wind down, the water gets right for some big ol’ flatties.

Man, I got it rough.

Of course, as you all read this article, I’m on the river doing neither of the two. Today, I am fishing for channel cats in our first Monsters of the Rock tourney of the year. I am somewhere in the beautiful stretch of river between Erie and Hillsdale and, hopefully, I am slammin’ some perty little channel cats.

This is our manufactured bait-only tourney, so one thing is for sure: I am slopping G&S cheese bait all over the darn place. I’ve probably uttered a few unsavory-type phrases, maybe blamed my rod or reel – maybe my partner, too – for something that was really my fault.

Hey, it’s my boat. I can blame whomever and whatever I want.

As always, I encourage you to find something outside to do this weekend. It might not be flathead fishing, mushroom hunting or any of the other things I like. But find something you like, and get on it.

If you're not an outdoorsy-type person, maybe it’s time you changed your culture a little bit. There is a ton of fun to be had on the river and in the woods, so give it some serious thought.

Go Catfish!

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