I always hated (well, maybe hate is a strong word) doing my taxes. I sat for days accumulating tax forms and compiling receipts. One year, while living near Columbus, I actually took my tax returns to the main post office just before midnight on the last day for filing without a penalty.

The only thing enjoyable about doing my own taxes was the day after, when I knew it was time to go fishing with “No Worries, mate,” until next April.

Now I have a tax-preparer do the work, and this year the returns were sent a month early, leaving even more time to fish, which I seem to have procrastinated away. But, that’s about to change.

There’s a cove I know on a big lake not far from home where the baitfish gather in the shallows. It’s warm in the shallows and it’s time to spawn. All the bigger fish seem to know, or maybe they just smell the active baitfish. They gather too in this south-facing cove and fill their bellies after a cold hard winter.

I’ll be there, too, with several fishing rods and a boxful of hooks and tackle. For crappies, I’m told only tiny minnows impaled on tiny jigs are the best bait, but I’ve caught them on small spinners, tiny plastic plugs and even deer hair poppers cast from a fly rod.

Yellow perch, another flavorful pan fish, seem to prefer minnows or a big juicy nightcrawler, but flashy spinners and big nymphs sunk around weed beds or rock piles catch their share of perch, too.

Bluegills, which I lump together with all the other sunfish or sunnies, don’t seem fussy. They’ll take a nightcrawler, a minnow, dead or alive, or just about anything that might be edible. Bluegills are fun to catch with a fly rod and a small popper, made from either deer hair, cork or foam. In fact, that’s the fun way to hook them while also learning to use a fly rod.


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