Sunday, November 07, 2010

busy saturday at camp macoba . . .

I love the cold temps - especially when surrounded by 100+ acres of woods! Yesterday, Todd and I hitched a ride on ol' Easy, our new-to-Camp MACOBA golf cart, and hit the trails to check traps! Easy is so-named because of the 'easy' life it had in its prior home -- lolling about the golf course. Now it's a working cart!

The traps we were checking were the minnow and crawdad traps Todd has set, down at the creek. He noticed that he rarely saw minnows in the two ponds, and that means there's nothing to feed the bass, which means they don't grow bigger, which means fishing isn't much fun. So he set up four minnow and two crawdad traps, and for a couple of weeks he's been transferring his catches from the creek to the pond. He's put a couple of downed cedar trees in the shallow end of the pond, so that the minnows have a little refuge space; but if they swim outside of it, they're definitely bigger fish food. Todd says the bass know when he's coming and as soon as he empties the bucket of minnows into the pond, they're waiting to pounce on the minnows that race out of the safe area!

Yesterday was the first time I'd had an opportunity to go with him, and I couldn't have picked a better day!

He was so excited when he pulled out the first minnow trap! He'd just started using dog food (who knew?) as bait, and evidently the minnows LOVED it!

There were probably about two dozen minnows in the first basket. I always thought of minnows as being smaller (which is why I'd had a hard time envisioning him catching *anything* in those baskets with the big old holes), but evidently they can be up to six or more inches long! Again, who knew?!?

But the second trap had about a gajillion-million minnows in it!!! He transferred them from the trap into the bucket, and you couldn't see individual minnows, just dark, swirling water, it was so thick with them!

I had to stick my hand in the bucket--it was so funny!! Not to mention cold. They were so thick in there it was no problem to just grab a fish!

But I couldn't grab a fish *and* take a picture of it, so Todd grabbed and I shot the photo. They rather looked like sardines. Same size and everything.

After he emptied a trap, he put more dog food bait in it, and got it back into the creek.

There was a nice spot -- flat bottomed with good flow -- not too far from the bank. He swung the rope and *bingo* dropped the trap right where he wanted it.

Can you see the pile of dog food nuggets that floated immediately to the top of the trap?

Within seconds, there were TONS of minnows trying to get to the bait!!

I know you can't see the fish as clearly in the photo as I could watching from the bank, but that trap was covered with minnows, and I was watching them swim to it from every direction! It was wild! You see how you can't see the dog food quite so plainly in this photo? It's because it's covered up with minnows, trying to eat it! Todd will check the traps again tomorrow -- I've no doubt he'll reap an even greater minnow harvest!

Then we took the bucket and got them into the pond. I didn't take pictures; I was too fascinated with the whole thing to remember to get out the camera! Next time.

By the time we'd finished with the minnows, the camp had filled with campers. We had two groups in on Saturday that were spending the night. We had a pack of Boy Scouts (it was actually a couple of dens combined), and a group of RA's. The RAs had signed up first and had the camp ground, pavilion, and upper meadow. The Boy Scouts had the middle meadow, which is closest to our site. There were tents *everywhere*!

The Boy Scouts wanted to be contained, so they build a new fire ring (with permission) and set up their community around the perimeter.

Even though there were several small groups that made up the larger group, there was a fun sense of community. Both in the way they set up their tents . . .

. . . and especially around their campfire.

I particularly liked their trash bucket, which was lashed to the top of this teepee-like structure.

We chatted with them for a bit, then we headed up to the upper campground to see what the RAs had going on.

It was a smaller group, but still there were probably about 25-30 of them.

As they were getting their tents pitched (or as in the one case, their trailer set-up), they were heading up to the upper meadow, where they were doing fun things like shooting air rifles and a little archery.

Both groups invited us for dinner. How nice! We had burgers with the RA's, and then tromped on over to the Boy Scout campfire for dessert. They'd made about six batches of apple and peach cobbler in dutch ovens.

Man, it was good!! There's something about eating dessert, cooked in the campfire, while looking up at the stars, that just makes you feel like grinning! We live the good life, that's for sure.

Oh, and don't get me wrong; I was happy myself to have our (warm) RV to head back to, with temps dipping down below freezing overnight! But everyone seems to be up and about this morning, and when we opened the RV door, we could hear the hustle and bustle of boys and breakfast . . . and the smell of bacon and pancakes and campfires was definitely in the air. Perfect!


1 left a comment . . .:

Pat said...

What a fun day and evening you had...thanks for sharing it and adding the photos, too.