Match the Hatch

My wife and I were out over the past weekend doing our usual walk around Silver Springs State Park. This one was just a leisurely stroll around the lake and ponds, cameras in hand and in search of nothing in particular.

Most of the flowers around the lake are gone now. The few left seem to sprout much smaller flowers. Might be the heat that causes that. Perhaps the usual drier July weather makes what little that blooms that much smaller.

We comb the milkweed for monarch caterpillars and the tall grasses for spiderwebs.

Though the caterpillars are welcome to come home with us, the spiders are not, regardless of my pleading. For someone that wipes asses for a living, her fear of spiders seems absurd. What oozes out of old people that she has to clean up seems far more disgusting to me than a little old spider. I've seen her try to scale walls to get away from the errant spiders that try to make a living in our home.

It never works out well for the spiders.

A wide variety of beetles and bugs were crawling all over everything this day. When bright orange beetles pick dark green plants to play on, you have to assume they have no predators. Orange on green is hardly the best of camouflage choices.

I've always wondered if the taste of the bug has a direct relationship to their ability to hide. The better the camo, the better they taste.

The most prevalent critter among the plants were grasshoppers. They were everywhere.

As usual there were a number of fishermen around. The regulars were sitting in lawn chairs dunking nightcrawlers under oversized bobbers. One angler was throwing around a spinnerbait. Another had two rods, one with a crankbait tied on and the other had a scumfrog tied on that he was throwing on top of lilly pads and weeds.

None of them were catching anything.

I noticed one angler methodically working the shore. He would flip something out about 10 or 15 feet and wait. He would occasionally haul in a nice sized largemouth bass. As we passed each other, I had to ask.

"You're using grasshoppers aren't you?"

He held up his lure. A small aberdeen hook with a grasshopper hooked on through the collar.

"Match the hatch. I figure there's about two weeks left."

With all the rain that's been tracking through the area, almost all of the rivers are high and muddy. I was just getting used to wading any where I wanted to go, the first time I've been able to do that in 5 years. The Fox isn't in that bad of shape, but I don't want to walk along the shoreline. I want to get out to the islands, cross the river at will. I don't want to have to think about current flow and getting knocked on my ass if I make the wrong move.

This weekend I may break down and walk the shores of the lake and ponds at Silver Springs.

I'll bring a cup, with a lid. Gather up some grasshoppers. I think this time I'll finally get out my fly rod. Little bit of a hook and some light line. A grasshopper hooked through the collar. Some light tosses not far from shore, see if the grasshopper can handle a light back cast.

A couple of the ponds are long and narrow. One whole side is inaccessible from shore, but I can cast that far. If the collar on the hopper holds, I've always wanted to find out what was living over there.

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