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A Good Day Fishing is Far Better Than a Good Day at Work

Updated on September 3, 2014

A Very Popular Pasttime

Nearly everyone either knows someone who fishes or they are an avid fisherman or yes, fisherwoman [I'm just ignoring the spell check underline]) themselves. Fishing has grown into far more than just a means of obtaining food - it has become a passion.

Everyone who loves the sport entertains their passion either through professional competitions, outfishing your buddy, trying out new lures, or it's just simply a reason to drink some beer. For me, squishing a nightcrawler on a hook and casting it deep into the water is the sound of my soul reunifying with nature.

Maybe that's what Brad Paisley is referring to in his song "I Got A Bite". Or maybe he's just trying to escape a relationship that isn't going to work out. What are your thoughts?

Brad Paisley's "I Got A Bite"

The History of Fishing

The art of fishing is probably as old as the human race. Once primitive man realized that gathering plants and berries was just not sufficient for overall food consumption, he started looking at the animals. And what better place to look but in the water.

The earliest fishermen probably used spears to catch the fish after they realized that simply throwing rocks at them wasn't doing the trick. I'm sure they had great success with the spears, however, fishing was limited to how far one could venture out beyond the shore.Thus the invention of the stick with a line attached to it.

This gave the fisherman a little more reach out into the water but there had to be something on the end of the line to snare them. Casting nets into the water from boats was effective in catching volumes of fish, but what about catching them individually?

According to Old-Timey Sportsmen (oldtimeysportsmen.com) "The oldest hooks date back 10,000 years" and they were whittled out of wood. They were very effective in hooking the fish by the mouth, however, the wood soaked up the water and eventually broke apart.

The official start of modern fishing in the western hemisphere is attributed to "the publication, in England, in 1496, of the 'Treatyse of Fysshynge With Angle,' written primarily for the English upper class, whose members traditionally angled for trout and salmon in inland waters." It wasn't until the 17th century that the fishing reel itself was invented. And from there the art of fishing has taken a thousand turns over the many centuries. It is quite the fascinating sport!

My Wife and I, Lakeside
My Wife and I, Lakeside

A Lucky Find

Two years ago my wife was online looking for some place for our family to go camping. We looked at the KOA sites throughout the state and took a peek at some of the state parks that offer camping. Then, as she is so good at doing, she found a place that looked like it could be a lot of fun and have nice potential.

Boo-Boos Lake

Humble Beginnings

"Meramec Valley Camp Resort began as a 102-acre resort with 478 camping spaces in 1976." Initially it was developed under Yogi Bear Resort but later "[o]n January 1, 1990 the Developer turned the ownership of all the park and improvements to the Meramec Valley Owners Association."

"Meramec Valley offers three different classes of memberships. 'A' memberships, which allows camping on all sites that provide sewer, water, and electric hookups. 'B' memberships allow camping on sites with water and electric hookups and 'C' memberships are for camping only. The tent sites have water in the area" and are nearby "comfort stations" that allow you access to a bathroom and shower facility. (meremecvalleycampresort.com)

A Really Good Experience

One of the greatest advances of technology over the past few years is the Groupon. We have a rather large family with 6 children and, because of our size, finding inexpensive things to do is essential. Fortunately Meramec Valley offers Groupons that offer campsites at reduced rates. The price was so good that we jumped on the deal.

We spent our first night camping on site 252 - the coveted spot right on the lake shore. We had a great time and we caught a few fish. Blue gill, large mouth and small mouth bass, catfish, and a few turtles are abundant in Boo Boos Lake. There is said to be both perch and trout in these waters although I have never seen evidence of this claim.

It appears to either be spring fed or it simply has very clean water. There are literally piles and piles of clam and mussel shells scattered just off the shore along the entire lake. Any time you are walking along a lake or pond and you see these shells, it is a very good thing. Shellfish cannot live in a muddy or polluted environment.



Using the Right Technique

The rod with no name that caught the most fish
The rod with no name that caught the most fish

There are three basic ways to string up your line to catch fish:

  • Using a bobber attached to a short line to fish near the surface
  • Running a lure through the water (top water, shallow and deep)
  • My favorite - tight lining.

The photo above shows how a typical tight line is set up. I like to use this technique because it allows you to attach several weights, giving you the advantage of being able to throw your line far out into the water.

  • Once you have thrown your line into the water, don't immediately reel the line in. The weights need to pull the bait down to the bottom of the lake.
  • After the weights have settled on the bottom, reel the line in slowly until it begins to go taut.
  • Anchor the bottom of the pole with the handle either into a metal reel holder or many fisherman like to simply prop the pole up with sticks. A Little Tip: I have found a secret that if you balance the pole against a 5-gallon bucket, then when a fish hits, the pole falls to the ground. This allows you to keep an eye on your pole from a distance.
  • Once your line is tight, reel it in a bit more to bend the tip of your pole towards the ground. This creates adequate tension so you can see even the slightest hit on your line.

I am an old school fisherman who simply likes to use nightcrawlers. There are many types of stink baits, minnows (which are banned at Boo Boos Lake), redworms, grubs, frogs, crickets, and crawfish used to catch catfish. Some folks like to use hot dogs, corn, or strange combinations involving corn flakes mixed with "secret ingredients". Not me. I have great success using nature's dirt eaters.

Sometimes You Catch the Small Ones

In the End, Though, You Will Succeed

I'm Curious About You

Which fish do you prefer to catch?

See results

Final Thoughts

The key to successful catfishing at Boo Boos Lake is to wait one hour after dusk. You will catch a few fish before then, as I caught several bluegill and a keeper small mouth bass (yes, tight lining - for all you lure enthusiasts!). After dusk they come out in droves to feed as most of the campers have settled in around the campfire for the night.

It's amazing how the Circadian rhythm impacts you and especially your kids when they are out in nature! Circadian rhythm is your body's natural tendency to want to sleep when it's dark and be awake when it's light.

I highly recommend visiting Meramec Valley Campgrounds. The staff is very friendly and they offer float trips down the Missouri River and they have three swimming pools along with a conference center-type building where technology junkies can tap into Wi-Fi. It is very kid friendly and they have permanent sites that can be purchased with park membership.

Not For Sensitive Eyes

True Love
True Love

Couples can have a great time too. I know my wife and I like to stay once over Memorial Day weekend with the kids and the come back by ourselves in August before school starts so we can have one more escape before the crazy year begins again. If you like having minimal people around, we strongly recommend visiting on weekdays. Most of the time we feel like we have the campgrounds to ourselves!

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