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WILTZ: It’s time to go after those walleyes

Early season walleye fishing has been going on for some time now on open water. Our entire reading area resides within reasonable distance of the action at Gavins Point, Fort Randall or Fort Thompson. It comes down to fishing the tailraces beneath the dams or an extension thereof. Such is the case beneath the Big Bend Dam at Fort Thompson, where the best fishing is often found downriver. Light monofilament line, a jig, and a minnow fished slowly and quietly are the keys to success.

0 Talk about it

Cold just radiates from the water. I can’t over do it when I talk about being dressed warmly enough. It has been said thousands of times, but it’s a lot easier to take something off if you’re too warm than to shiver for hours while your partners enjoy themselves. Keep your head warm, and wear one-piece coveralls so you don’t have a crack of exposed skin in your waist area. Be extra careful in the boat. One wouldn’t last very long in that frigid water.

My first early spring tailrace experience occurred beneath the Oahe Dam. We lived at Willow Lake at the time, and Oahe was the closest Missouri River dam. Times were different. The daily walleye limit was eight fish, and those Oahe tailrace walleyes averaged from three to five pounds each.

I learned about jigs and minnows on my first trip. We drifted down and ran back up toward the dam like every other boat in that armada, but the other boats were netting fish while we went without. Eventually someone’s minnow-tipped jig landed in our boat. We took a hurried look, tossed it back into the water, and headed for Carl’s Bait Shop in Fort Pierre. We were netting ’eyes within the hour. We were also removing ice from our rod guides.

Fluorocarbon line has been a great advancement as it is more nick and cut resistant than regular mono. However, no matter how hard I’ve worked at loading it onto my reels without twisting it, I generally end up with a snarled mess after two hours of fishing. I solved that problem by making a leader of fluorocarbon and tying it to my mono line with a barrel knot. Don’t make your fluorocarbon leader any longer than necessary. Four feet is enough. As with mono, always tie your jig directly to the fluorocarbon.

When you go, you’ll catch some larger females that are full of eggs. I’d like to see you turn them loose. I promise that I will.

As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “There’s nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

Evil is everywhere

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that friends and I would be headed to Africa in early August. It amazes me how many people comment, “Aren’t you afraid? How can you do that?”

I’m not a particularly brave guy, and I have to ask, “Afraid of what?” Airplanes? They are safer than your pickup truck. Guns? I take care whether I’m hunting kudu or whitetails. Yes, there is evil in our world, but I don’t have to go to Africa to find it.

Column readers often ask me what I’m reading. I recently read Charles Krauthammer’s Things That Matter. It is a collection of newspaper columns that the renowned syndicated columnist has written over the past 30 years. Krauthammer talks about everything from baseball to dogs to stem cell research. The man is knowledgeable. The man can write, and the man can think. I’ll call Things That Matter one of the best books I have ever read.

Whether you are a conservative or a liberal, you’ll enjoy this book. I know I learned a great deal about important issues whether I agreed or not.

While three weeks have passed since I returned the book to our Wagner library, one particular column haunts me most every day. It deals with recognizing just how evil some people can be.

Krauthammer first alluded to the Jews lined up in WWII Nazi concentration camps. They were herded by a few soldiers with guns into what they were told would be a shower. Why, with their sheer numbers, didn’t they overpower the guards? Because they had no comprehension of just how evil the Nazis could be. They bought the shower story.

Krauthammer then went on to the 9/11 disaster. The first two airplanes plowed into New York City’s World Trade Center. The third plane crashed into Washington, D.C.’s Pentagon. Why didn’t the passengers overtake a few Muslim terrorists? Because they believed the Muslim terrorists would safely land the plane where they wanted to go, and all would be well. The naïve passengers had no concept of just how evil the terrorists were.

The passengers of the fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, received cell phone calls from family who told them about the World Trade Center. These passengers now knew what they were dealing with. They overpowered the terrorists, and diverted an intended attack on either The White House or The Capitol. Unfortunately UA Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pa.

What is Krauthammer’s point? He tells us that Iran is just as evil as the Nazis and the 9/11 Muslim terrorists. Iran will use the nuclear weapons they are developing as they sneer at our president’s idle threats. We must realize who we are dealing with.

Getting back to hunts on foreign soil and a fear factor, I think a little common sense is called for. I don’t plan to stand around wearing an American flag T-shirt and making a spectacle of myself in any international airport whether it is London, Frankfurt, Johannesburg or Cairo. Unlike international hunter and TV personality Jim Shockey, I’m not going to hunt Afghanistan or Pakistan, but I would hunt big bears on Russian soil in a heartbeat.

Flash! The annual trout dump beneath the dam at Pickstown has taken place.

See you next week.