Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Crack... Bonk

As referenced yesterday, today I had the astounding good fortune to be the guest of one of the members of the Turtle Lake Club in Michigan, my grandmother's cousin (who for convenience sake I shall call my uncle). The day started out with a truly spectacular sunrise, with nice low cirrus clouds to give it some real fire. Packed up the Mosins and my fishing gear into my uncle's car, and drove for an hour twenty to get to the lodge.

Toast is one of those weird things that can be bad, but never seems to have the other side of the bell curve. Yet, somehow, the toast at breakfast was far tastier than any other toast I have ever had, and a fair sight better than most french toasts. Despite the absolute jaw-dropping nature of the club, I still noticed the toast.

The club is, in the most literal, true sense of the word, awesome. I had, throughout the entire day, a feeling of awe. The club has between 24000 and 26000 acres, depending on who you ask, and those acres are the most beautiful, healthy forests i may have ever seen. For all that it is a hunting club, the deer and other wildlife are visible, healthy, and plentiful. I was impressed.

Once dad and I managed to pluck our jaws out of our shoes, we took a looong drive out to the thousand yard range. Dad and I started on the Mosins at 100 yards. My uncle decided that iron sight accuracy was simply insufficient, and so brought out his Sako .308 with Nightforce Scope and proceeded to show that it is indeed worth its $7500 price tag. Dad and I took turns with the rifle, ringing plates at 300, 400, 500, 700, and finally, 1000 yards. Both dad and I managed to put shots onto a 2'x2' plate at over half a mile, which I found satisfactory. And exhilarating.

After the shooting finished, I got a chance to see just how far these shots were. I had to go out and paint the plates out to the 700. (The thousand was inaccessible due to a marsh.) Walking out there, I couldn't avoid stepping in deer tracks. I also came across two sets of bear tracks and what looked like bobcat. Passing the 400 mark, the thousand target still seemed rather farther away than was reasonable. By the time I got to the 700, I couldn't understand a word my dad said as he was trying to talk to me.

Having policed the range and gotten everything back together, we drove around the property for a while before coming to the short range, which only goes out to 300 yards. (Only being a very relative thing.) My uncle fetched out his crossbow, which provided an entertaining few minutes, before Dad and I started running a few pistol drills. Turns out we both are relatively good at it.

Having a few minutes before lunch, we headed out on the lake, with the understanding that we would only have about 20 minutes of fishing. Despite the time strangulation, I managed to catch three decent bass. In a typically irritating moment, my first cast resulted in a beautiful birds nest (I'm still getting used to my baitcast,) which was complicated slightly by a bass on the end of the line. Both dad and I caught bass on the first cast. Back in the boathouse I caught a mess of panfish just dipping my lure in the water, as well as a nice rock bass.

Lunch was quite tasty, though I was impatient to get back on the lake.

Heading back out, I caught another four bass, including a 16-17 inch smallmouth. Dad caught the biggest fish of the day, an almost 18 inch largemouth. At the end of the day, we had 4 15"+ fish in the live well for my uncle's upcoming game dinner. We only fished for a grand total of about an hour and a half.

It was actually very useful for me to be able to catch fish like that. I rarely get the chance to fish on good lakes, so I have never been sure what lures, presentations, and styles are most effective. I got the chance there to experiment with different retrieves and lures, and really nail down a better technique. Case in point, this morning (now two days after I started writing this post) I managed to get a fairly vigorous strike on Burt Lake where I am staying, which is highly unusual, as it has been fished too heavily. I also managed to catch two monsters, being probably the two largest crawdads I have ever seen.

I need to find more places I can fish like that. I need to find a good range. I need a nice, accurate rifle.


While I'm at it, can I have a unicorn too?

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