Into The Outdoors 3/18/14 Issue

It’s that time of year for those of us of the angling persuasion start to blow the winter’s dust off our fishing tackle. In our eagerness to wet a line, many of us will head out after the not-so-elusive sucker. Anglers will be popping up along the banks of area rivers and streams before very long now, and, if all goes as planned, I’ll be among them.
Of all the fish that swim in our local waterways, none gets less respect than the sucker. Even the often ridiculed carp gets credit for putting up a good fight. The poor old sucker doesn’t even have that going for him. He comes in sort of like an old boot or sunken piece of wood. He’s poor table fare. On top of all of that, he’s ugly, too. Many might look at him as the ultimate trash fish. Yet, for a few weeks each year, the sucker enjoys an enhanced status on the social scale. While there are other species in season, getting at them can be difficult, due to such things as docks yet to be installed, closed launch areas and residual ice along the banks. Suckers, however, are both readily accessible and easy to fish for.
Shortly after ice-out, large numbers of suckers gather at the mouths of river tributaries in preparation for traveling upstream to spawn. It is here that they are the most vulnerable to the angler’s efforts.
Getting geared up for a sucker outing is really simple. Any rod and reel combo that will allow you to cast a heavy weight a short distance will do the job very well. I tend to use “cheapo” reels, as it’s very possible to get mud and grit into the mechanism. A forked stick or commercial rod holder, a container of bait and something to sit on will round out the requirements. It’s also a good idea to take a warm jacket along, as things can get chilly.
Sucker fishing technique is simplicity itself. The only baits I’ve ever used are earthworms and, once in awhile, mealworms or other insect larvae. Never, in my entire life, have I caught a sucker on an artificial lure of any kind, but I suppose it’s possible. All you have to do is bait up, and cast your bait out a little way from shore. Prop the rod in the forked stick and sit back. When the rod tip starts to jump about, you know that old Mr. Sucker has come calling. Just set your hook and reel him in. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Personally, I return nearly all of my suckers to the water unharmed. I’ve tried many ways to make them good eating, but with no success. I’ve heard that the roe is tasty, but I don’t know if that’s true, and, while I enjoy some types of roe, I don’t know how to prepare it myself. I’ve also heard that some people use the fish for garden fertilizer and trapping bait. Whatever you do, don’t toss the fish onto the bank to rot. That’s senseless, and it does great harm to landowner relations, an increasingly important element of fishing.
Though suckers are often vilified, I kind of like the critters. In fact, as a little kid, the first fish of any size I ever caught was a sucker, and the memory is still fond. Besides, the sucker gives you a chance to wet a line when you might not otherwise be able to do so. You have to love him for that.
And speaking of good fish, be sure to stop by St. Patrick’s Church in Brady’s Bend for the Friday Night Lenten Fish dinners. Bake or Fried. Dinners are served the Fridays of Lent, now through Aprill 11th from 4 to 6:30 PM. See all the detail in the church ad on page A-4 in this issue of The Progress News. Now that’s a good catch!

About us | Advertise | Help | Privacy Policy | Subscriptions, RSS © 2009 The Progress News . All Rights Reserved .