Big fish

Deer hunters measure racks. Golfers keep score and more. Baseball players hit for average and spit for distance. And fishermen oh boy, that’s another story measure or weigh our catch, the bigger the better in most cases.

Apparently, we fishermen have an innate need to keep track, to measure, to compare and we know how to stretch your imagination until it won’t stretch any more. When it comes to fishing, we can fib and lie and brag with the best of them. Some begin to get over the competitiveness of it all, but never completely. I quit counting many years ago. I used to keep track dates and all. Today, an 11 is pretty much like a 10, and 9’s are just as fine, but I really would like to catch a 14. I really would. But it’s not that big of a deal. And most times, I’m happy with enough 18-inchers for a fine meal.

Cats, too. I love those old flatheads and I’m just as happy with a 15 pounder as a 12 pounder or even a 5 pounder. What the heck, where I fish, I’m happy to catch whatever bites my hook. But I really would like to catch a 30-pound catfish just once. Well, maybe twice. Of course, it’s easy to toss numbers around, which is what most fishermen do most of the time. An eyeball estimation always bends upward, is always painted with an optimistically broad and wishful brush. It’s no revelation that most 30-pound muskies weigh less than 30 pounds. Or that most 50-inchers measure less than 50 inches. I have even seen a few that surely measured more like 47, along with a few “picture” 55’s, 56’s and 57’s that certainly measured more like 52. One time, I was at an In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail Tournament, and Tournament Director Mark Dorn was asked by an onlooker why an 8.75-pound walleye was the biggest walleye weighed in the tournament when in practice the pros caught all kinds of 9’s and 10’s.

“Because that’s what 9’s and 10’s weigh when they cross a certified scale,” Dorn quipped. A 30-pound muskie, a 10-pound bass or an 8-pound walleye those are very big fish. We can take some of the relevant edge off how difficult it is to catch fish of that caliber with all the eyeball-bending going on. How rare fish of that caliber really are for most fisherman is suggested by recent statistics from the In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail. Since 1989, PWT contestants have fished more than 99,819 hours in tournament competition. Only 13 10-pound walleyes and two 11-pound walleyes have been weighed in by some of the country’s top fishermen from some of our top waters. That’s an average of 6,655 hours per 10-pounder, an average of 49,910 hours per 11-pounder. Ouch.

Cowboy Action Shoot date change

Doug Ritter advised me that due to a number of high school graduations and activities going on in the community, the upcoming Izaak Walton Cowboy Action Shoot has been changed from June 8 to 22. This shoot will be held at the Ike’s Park. Also, shooting will start earlier at 9 a.m. Sign-up begins at 8 a.m.

This is a fun (cowboy) shoot, folks. It really is. Come as you are. They prefer you wear a cowboy hat. Not to worry though, they’ll have plenty of extra hats on hand for your to borrow. All handguns are “wheel guns” (revolvers). The Ike’s will have ammunition on hand for you. All ammo is .22 caliber. Sign up will be at the old western town in the southwest corner of the Ike’s Park. Lunch will be available.

They’ll have extra revolvers (.22 caliber) on hand for you to use in case you don’t own one. In fact, they’ll have just about everything you’ll need. All shooting events are open to the public. You need not be an Ike member to shoot. Even if you don’t shoot, it’ll be worth your while to drive down there and see some of those characters walking around with handlebar mustaches, vests, chaps and 10-gallon hats and a Texas ranger or High Sheriff’s badge.

The cowboy shoot takes place in the old ghost town of Cactus Flats. You can’t miss it. It’s south of the old abandoned Molly Kathleen gold mine and north of Fort Bozeman and the boot hill cemetery. Just thought I’d throw that in to add some color. For more information, call Doug Ritter, 832-3832.

Tornado record broken

Last Tuesday, we tied the state record for the longest stretch without a reported tornado. It was 355 days since a tornado touched down in the state. Wednesday night we broke the record set between May 5, 1955 and April, 26, 1956.

And now, have a good weekend.