Jack took his boat. It's an old 14 foot aluminum v-hull with a 10 horse Evinrude motor that he had salvaged and repaired. He has it rigged with an anchor made of five old double hung window sash weights wired together. That anchor holds us in place in a good stiff breeze. The vessel is just right for two grumpy old men, but would be an insult for those guys with their 200 horsepower engines on their metal-flake fiberglass boats that I call bass bullets with their fully equipped electronic geostationary satellite positioning devices and "you can't hide from me" fish locators.
Anyway, Jack took us to a lake that I had never been to before--- Jungle Lake.
It was a gorgeous setting. Very few homes on the shore. Crystal clear water. Surrounded by forest. And we were the only ones on the water that day. The fish were biting pretty slowly, but steadily enough to keep things interesting. We ended up with our limit of bluegill, perch, sunfish, and rock bass. We also caught a few largemouth bass, but threw them back.
The real highlight of the day, though was the birds. A solo loon serenaded us throughout the day and was diving all around the boat. That loon call is as significant to my northwoods summers as the first robin song is to spring. I love it. For anyone who has never heard the loon's tremolos, wails, yodels and hoots, go here.
There were also two big ospreys out fishing for most of the day. They soar high over the water peering down for fish near the surface that they can swoop down and nab. It's amazing to me that they can not only pick out a fish from so high, especially when there is a good rippling wave on the water, but that they can tell that it is swimming close enough to the surface for them to hit when they stab for it.
At one point, one had come to a hovering stand still about 30 feet over a spot in the water.
Jack said, "Hey, it looks like he's spotted one."
And we both watched as it rocketed down and splashed, only to emerge with its talons full.
"Yup, he nailed it."
But as we watched, it climbed about 15 feet in the air, and the fish dropped back into the water.
Simultaneously we both yelled, "Oooooh! It got away," just like it was one of our fishing buddies right there in the boat with us.
"Hey look. He's still got one though." And, sure enough, he still had one in his talons. He must have caught two at once. Unbelievable.
He circled once, but then started to call out. Normally, they remain pretty quiet when they are fishing.
Soon we saw that a mature bald eagle was headed across the water toward him and the osprey was telling it to get the heck out of there. The eagle seemed to chase the osprey for a while, but then it turned its attention to the dropped fish. Sure enough, that eagle swooped down right where the osprey had dropped his catch and popped it out of the water.
Then the eagle flew low over the water across the lake to perch in its pine, and the osprey went off on its way. I hate to inform you of this, but our national bird is a lazy opportunist.
I looked over at Jack, and said, "Darned eagle is just like a tourist pushing his way into our favorite fishing spot."
To which Jack responded, "Did you ever stop and think that maybe we are the tourists in his fishing spot?"
If you've never seen an osprey fish, it would be worth a couple of minutes to view the following National Geographic clip:
As usual, I failed to bring a camera on this trip. The links to the images used are: