Friday, June 10, 2005

Tropical Storms, Ratsnakes, and Fish Caught

This morning I slipped out to try and make up for a missed fishing trip. I am mostly a saltwater fisherman, but there are too many little freshwater creeks and springs around here to ignore. I hadn't gone 3 miles when I spotted a grey rat snake stretched out on the road. There was a light drizzle and the scudding grey clouds from Tropical Storm Arlene were keeping the temperature relatively low. This snake was just trying to warm up on the dark asphalt. His snake brain could sense the heat of the road (a good thing), but it wasn't as good at sensing oncoming cars (a bad thing).
So I pulled the jeep to a stop and moved him across the road and into the woods. He bit me to show me who was boss and worse he "musked" me. Rat snakes are great snakes, but if you irritate them they produce the stinkiest musk. Ugh! I'll post a picture of him next. People around here call the grey rat snake "Oak Snakes" due to their excellent cryptic coloration. They are excellent climbers and can go straight up a tree.
Seeing a beautiful snake and actually having my camera with me was a great start to my adventure. A short while later I was at this tiny creek that I had spotted a few days before. It was literally nothing more than a culvert under the road with a shallow flow of tea-colored water sliding into a cypress swamp. I cast my little ultralight and immediately caught a warmouth perch, then a bluegill, than a perch, then a bluegill...Two of them bit on the bare hook after the bait had been stolen. It was great fun, the kind of place to take small children to hook them on fishing for life.
Even with a light drizzle of rain, I brought about 20 mixed panfish home to release in my pond. I will post a few fish pics too.
Let me post a few pics, and then I'll tell you about my incredible lizard luck...

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