When Fall Is In the Air It Brings Back Many Memories and Plans

 Fall is in the air.  For the first time in months I was happy to fish in the sun in the Sportsman Club tournament a week ago last Sunday.  It got hot later, but at daylight it was a bit cool on the water fishing in the shade.

    A sure sign its fall is the preparation for the annual three club tournament at Lake Martin. We look forward to this tournament we hold the second weekend of October each year.  We usually catch a lot of bass, mostly pound size spots, but it is a lot of fun getting lots of bites.

    Last year 24 of the 29 fishermen had limits both days, two more had a limit one day and four keepers on the other day, and no one weighed in less than five keepers. And many of those fish were caught on topwater baits including the 3.74-pound spot I caught on Saturday.  That one gave me a thrill!

    Members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club also get ready for our Club Classic, held the first weekend in October.  To qualify to fish it, members must fish at least eight of the 12 tournaments during the year or finish in the top eight in the club for the year.

Some of the entry fees from monthly club tournaments are reserved for payout at the Classic. The top five get a check as well as the big fish winner.  There is a good bit of money paid out, much more than in regular tournaments.

The Potato Creek Bassmasters also has a Club Classic with similar rules and pay-out. It is held the last weekend in March.  It is much anticipated, too, and adds to the special spring feelings.

    Last week I smelled burning leaves for the first time this year.  I love that smell. Often when fishing on a very cold day a whiff of burning leaves can seem to warm you up a little. 

It takes me back to raking pecan leaves in the yard, piling them in the ditch and burning them. My favorite part was going back out there when there were just embers left, usually a cool late afternoon, and scratching around for missed pecans.

They usually seemed to be roasted just right. I think since they settled to the bottom of the pile against the ground, most of the heat went up and did not burn them.

We roasted pecans in the oven most of the year, too. Daddy also ordered 50-pound bags of peanuts every year and the bag was always available to get a pan out and put in the oven. Most nights the family sat around the den watching TV after dinner eating roasted nuts or a bowl of ice cream before bed.

Now the whine of leaf blowers replaces the rhythmic scraping of a rake and disturbs the peace. Blowers may be a lot faster, but I hate fishing on a nice peaceful morning only to hear someone crank up a leaf blower and make a lot of noise for hours on end. On a lake with lots of houses it is a constant sound all day.

I heard a DJ on the radio today say there was a sure sign fall is here.  The dollar stores are putting out Valentine stuff.  Seriously, Christmas stuff is already showing up in some area stores a month before Halloween.  Seems a big early to me.

Are we in too big a hurry nowadays?  We can’t wait to a holiday in a couple of months to the point of missing the excitement of the ones coming up. And it seems the same for hunters and fishermen. Bass boats scream around the lake, trying to find that perfect spot. Hunters can’t sit still in deer stands, they have to ride their four wheelers in the woods scaring the deer for everyone else.

My favorite season is a toss up between spring and fall. I love the warming weather in spring, the new growth of plants and animals and the fantastic fishing. Planting gardens is always a great anticipation of coming delicious vegetables.

But fall starts hunting seasons and great fishing again.  And the bounty of the garden is ending but still producing delicious fresh meals, with digging potatoes one of my favorites.  And fall crops of broccoli, cabbage and other cool weather veggies are another anticipation.

One of the best things about fall, the opposite of spring, is the disappearance of bugs.  Cooler nights seem to lessen them and the first frost makes most mosquitos, ticks, flies and other irritating bugs disappear.

Many people travel to the mountains to see the colorful leaves each year. I much prefer seeing them from a deer stand. Mountain and valley vistas are nice but sitting in a tree on a ridge over a creek valley is even better to me, since the anticipation of seeing a deer is there.

Deer camp the first week of November is something we look forward to every year, too. Every club has different camps, but all involve fires, good food, great companionship and an escape from the reality of modern life.  It takes most of us back to simpler times when the world was not quite so crazy.

Roughing it at deer camp can also make me appreciate the conveniences of modern life. Going four or five days without a hot shower is not something I enjoy, but fortunately, my camp is close enough to drive home every other day for a shower.

Cooking on an open fire is fun – a couple of times.  But having to do it every day makes me appreciate the ease of cooking a variety of things an open fire just can not produce.  Biscuits, pies and cakes are some of the things you really need an oven to cook!

Enjoy fall – winter will be here soon enough.