As I get older I have come to know that there are lots of good days mixed in with a few inevitable not-so-good-days…the bonus is that occasionally there are those days that are just special, better for a myriad of reasons; November 1 was just this kind of day.
Any day in which you get to do your most favorite two things is probably going to be a good day but on a day when the weather and nature cooperates…it certainly has potential to be a banner day. Like most other Sundays, Vickie and I were up early and off to church. It was a great message by our minister Tom on not allowing failures to be just that…a failure. Tom is a historian and like me he is enamored with President Lincoln; at one point he went through the list of failures that Lincoln experienced. If you don’t know…then look it up as our 16th president failed time after time…all the way to the point whereby he was elected president. Well, you know the story from there!
My dog trailer was already hooked up to my truck and within a few minutes of being home I grabbed a ‘sammich’ and was off for the West Dugger Unit of the Greene Sullivan State Forest. I won’t go into great detail but suffice it to say that this area offers the sportsmen so many avenues to fulfill their daily need for nature.
By 1pm I parked the dog trailer, slid a pair of 28 gauge shells into my over/under, released all three of my excited dogs and stepped off in search of a covey of quail. I could tell the kids (my three bird dogs) were geared up as they yipped and ripped off towards the horizon. A couple of minutes to shake loose the trailer ride and we were into hunt mode. Macy, Royale and Pappi were all moving quickly, side to side in search of the magic scent; my focus is usually just ahead of us as I try and navigate us to likely cover…but if you have ever hunted with a good bird dog, this can be like trying to herd a cat-sometimes they simply have their own ideas of what looks good?
We hadn’t gone a hundred yards when the only dog I could see or hear was Pappi. Usually that means something is up, another few steps and I could see Royale locked in on point, Macy was just a few steps behind and backing her. I whoaed the group, when I did I watched as Pappi came to a screeching halt, not knowing the girls had found birds.
I eased my way toward the first pair and about 8 quail blew out of the cover; my little Weatherby 28 gauge flew to my shoulder and the ¾ ounce of size 8 shot found its mark as the bird tumbled into the grass. The shot was so clean that I knew the bird was a rooster as I could see white on the bird prior to pulling the trigger. By the time I took a few steps…Pappi was on his way, bird in hand, to proudly deliver my first quail of the year.
I spun the dogs around and left the singles, as we walked back towards the truck I could hear all three a ‘huffin and a puffin’; the air temps were in the upper 60’s and that is hot weather for dog work…thus I made my way back to the truck and watered them down. We had only been out for 30 minutes thus I decided to go the other direction in search of one more covey…not only did they need a little more bird work, they needed a lot more conditioning for our upcoming trip to Nebraska. Our second lap didn’t produce any birds…but no worries, directly in front of me was one of my favorite lakes and I ALWAYS have my fly fishing gear!
I shoved off backwards in my float tube and looked down at my watch…it read 2:30pm. While this was an awesome day to be out, the sun was shining brightly, which makes for a more difficult time fishing. I had my 6-weight rig with type 1 sink tip fly line and started by making casts toward the shore; by waiting a few seconds the fly would be down a few feet below the surface, deep enough that I hoped there would be some hungry bass looking for a meal.
I was looking up at the cirrus clouds above while softly stripping my fly when I felt a serious pop on the other end…a quick strip set with my left hand and I was indeed hooked up. It was no monster, but a healthy 12 inch bass. I released the fish back into the clear water, took a look at my watch and noticed it was now 2:42pm…in just under two hours I had completed my November cast and blast (fishing and hunting in the same day); a 6 weight fly rod and 28 gauge over/under. What a treat, nothing fancy-these weren’t driven pheasants and salmon but they were two native species here in Indiana.
The rest of the day was filled with more bass, more awesome weather…and not a soul in sight. Just me, a fly rod, three good dogs and my float tube. I wasn’t fishing the mountains of Montana for trout in the morning and sharpies in the afternoon…well, maybe someday? To be out on the first day of November, have some success and enjoy quite possibly the best weather of the year, can’t ask much more than that; it was a grand day and one that I clearly Enjoyed the Great Outdoors.