Brute's Bleat: July 1, 2015


It’s hard to believe we’re into the 4th of July weekend already, but you know the saying, “time flies when you’re having fun”.  It also goes by quickly when a person is busy, whether on the job, working on the things to do list, or enjoying a hobby. But getting back to Independence Day and it’s historical significance and you can bet your bottom dollar that Thomas Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence” will get a lot of attention this weekend as will  fireworks, parades, major league baseball, and picnics with freshly harvested ear corn and apple pie. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation's most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson's most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in "self-evident truths" and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country. Abraham Lincoln had this quote about Independence Day, “I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence .   .    .    which gave liberty, not alone to the people of the country, but I hope, to the world for all future time.”   .     .     .     With all of the unrest in the world today and the threat of terrorists to the United States reading the words from Jefferson’s hand back in 1776 that starts with “When in the course of human events,” and in the second paragraph, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” would be a good way to kick off this year’s celebration and then move on to the present day activities that have made the 4th of July such an outstanding national event.   
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Sunfish fishing on Maple Lake continues to be spotty, but if you’re persistent you’ll get a meal or two.  Michael Miller and I gave it a try last week and we found out it takes plenty of sorting to get a respectable limit. We caught lots of of sunnies, but we were tossing back the females that hadn’t spawned as well as the little shavers. I’m not sure why the females with eggs haven’t spawned, but it’s something that apparently can happen if conditions aren’t just right.  Miller, a junior high student, also tied into a hungry Northern that gave him quite a fight on a light crappie rod, but he hung in there and boated the 3-4 lb. fish without a net just as the fish bit off the line. We ended up with the Northern and 23 sunfish for the 3 1/2 hours we fished. Later in the week I tried Maple again fishing in about 14 feet of water. The egg filled females were again a problem and it took a fair amount of bait to find five keepers. One of the released females measured 9 1/2 inches.
Daryl Hennen convinced me to go to Big Stone lake at Ortonville (it didn’t take a lot of convincing) Sunday to fish walleyes and sunfish. I had fished there once before years ago without any success, but I was optimistic anyway. We ran into two detours on Highway 12 which cut into our early morning fishing time and a clerk at Artie’s Bait Shop gave us some hints, which coincided with those from Joe Rassat, as well as suggesting an access up the river to avoid the 15-20 mph wind at the southern access. It was a new experience fishing above the weeds which dominate that lake and we struggled to get bites as well as fight the wind. We each had some bites, but neither of us connected to find out what was after our nightcrawler or leech. We wrapped it up about 2:30 p.m. convinced it would have been better earlier in the morning or in the evening, mostly because of the wind. We took a round-about way back to ML going to Clinton for a first hand look at that area’s pheasant country. Some of the prime Wildlife Management Areas east of Clinton, in good farming county, had been hit by a hailstorm the night before and the damage to the corn and soybean fields was severe. Besides being a blow to the farmers we figured the pheasants in the storm area, which was several miles long and we don’t know how wide, also took a beating from the hail. Not a good sign for this fall’s pheasant and duck seasons, but we’ll know not to hunt there, or not to expect a whole lot if we do.
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