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What the heck, I don't know
Posted by: Royal
Date: September 24, 2014 10:53PM
if there is anyone reading this forum but I will repost an old story :D

This is a fast job but pretty much what happened.
Jim asked me to repost the story about the underwater fishing I did . I can not get into the Archives, it seems, so I will have to re-do the story.
Back a few years I used to do a lot of bottle hunting in the St Clare River. This river runs between Lake Huron and Lake St Clare, which in turn runs into the Detroit River and Lake Erie. The river runs north to south with Canada on the eastern shore.
This river has been used for commerce since the white man first opened the country to trapping. Every ship that has ever plied lakes Superior, Michigan or Huron has had to use this river, which they still do. Hundreds of thousands of boats and ships have sailed these waters and the bottom is covered with the trash of the centuries. In places the sediment is feet thick and full of old bottles and other trash.
I have many hours on the bottom with scuba gear, collecting bottles. It is a lot of work and some times fruitless if I do not pick a productive site.
My favorite spot is in the city of St Clare. I have seen old pictures of the river front and there was a long boardwalk running along it. In fact the boardwalk was running above it. The people living along the river would just pitch their trash in the river and it would acclimate on the bottom, many places feet thick. The trick was to find those spots.
The bottom is covered with broken bottles, many blob topped and embossed. I have found hundreds of the things.
Now there is a park running along the river for about 8 blocks or so. This is well maintained and it is about a 80ft between the road and the river. They welcome the divers. Most of the divers are there to experience current diving and as the river is wider, thus shallower there than at Port Huron, it is easier on the new divers nerves.
Between the road there is a wide grassy area and then a boardwalk. Between the boardwalk and the water is a four foot high fence made of pipe. In this fence there are openings, in these there are ladders for swimmers and divers to access the river.. The water runs south which is left to right.
We would don our equipment and with a dive bag on my left wrist for holding my finds and a ping-pong paddle on the right for fanning the hard sediment on the bottom. We did this to dig holes. We would fan the bottom and depend on the current to carry away the debris. This way was the best because we didn’t risk breaking any bottles that might turn up.
In doing this, we would often wash out crawfish and other little morsels the fish loved. I am getting ahead of myself now.
The water is about 15 ft deep at the wall and the bottom is level for about 6 ft. Then it goes down at a 55 or 60 degree angle to the depth of about 35 ft where it levels off. This bank is where we would hunt for bottles. I have found some on the flats but we don’t like to get out into the shipping lanes. I have some story’s about that!!
What we would do is drop down the drop and find a likely spot and start digging. Now I never was sure what the hell a likely looking spot was but we would pick one.
If there were more than one of us and many times I went along, we would try to stagger so the debris from one digger would not blow down into the claim of another. This was not usually a problem as there was three or four hundred feet of bank we hunted. I have found 28 different types of ink bottles along there. Some have found bottles worth a couple thousand dollars along there although I never did.
I noticed one interesting thing. As I fanned the bottom I noticed that there were always a school of fish on the downstream side of me. They would just be setting there and when a crawdad was washed out by my digging, one of them would dart out and slurp it out.
These fish were usually small mouth bass and sheep head. ##### big small mouth bass too!! I know I saw many that would go 5 or 6 bs or maybe a bit more and that is one hell of a small mouth bass!!
One day I was digging and not finding much. I saw a little crawdad in my pit and caught him. I looked down stream at the school of hungry fish and tossed it into the current. A bass snapped that thing up is a flash.
Now those fish were only about 4 ft away from me and I did not concern them much at all. They just watched for little tidbits I would wash up. I looked around a bit of fishing line snagged to a log. I broke off a chunk of it and saw that there was a hook on the end. I then looked around for another crawdad. When I caught one I threaded it on the hook through the base of its tail. This left him frisky and ready to swim away. He was not going far as I only had four feet of line or so.
I dropped that guy into the current and it washed down to the waiting fish. It did not wash down for long!! A small mouth snagged him up and took off. He felt that hook and the fun was on. It fought like heck and was soon in my hands. The line was heavy and the fish was only a couple pounds so there was not much of a fight.
I turned it loose as I did not want to be caught taking a game fish in an illegal fashion. It was fun though..
On the way home I got to thinking. Why was it illegal? I had a fishing license. I went to the DNR the next week and saw the ranger and told him what I was thinking of doing. I told him I wanted to take a fishing pole to the bottom and bait it up and catch fish. He said that if I had a legal license, a legal fishing pole, there was nothing saying I had to be on the surface! Well I was right after all. I could not figure what would be wrong with it, only that nobody did it.
I dug through my fishing equipment and found an old ice- fishing rod. For you southern folk that is a short rod and the one I had had a reel built onto it. That should work, I figured.
The next chance I had I headed for the river, pole packed with my equipment. I got to the river and there were not many people around, which was fine with me. I rigged up and dropped into the water. I then headed or the bottom, pole in hand along with my bottle diggin tools.
I had not a clue how long it would take to attract fish,as I have never paid attention. I found a likely spot, rather free of snags and laid the pole in a secure spot, out of the current,as I did not want to have to go down stream to Lake Erie to get the pole. The current is still pretty stiff in that spot.
I then started fanning for bottles, all the while watching for crawdads t use as bait. It was not long before I had an audience. The fish started lining up, waiting for the food to be washed up. Boy there were some nice bass showing up!
I saw a crawdad finally and with a bit of doing, caught him. I threaded the hook through his tail and with my legs locked around a stump so as not to wash down stream, released the crawdad into the current.
Like before the dam fish fought to be the one to get the bait. A big old small mouth snagged him up and headed for Lake Erie! I had a stupid little rod with a one foot pole and he had the current fighting for him. I I let him run for a little bit but since I had 20 lb test line on that little rod, I managed to horse him back to me. That ##### thing was running up stream and down stream and under me and headed for the surface! I was just a holding on and trying not to get strangled in the ##### 20 lb test line.
When I finally got him back to me it was not as it he was done or nothing. He just wanted to look me over it seemed and when he did he headed for Erie again. He swam around and around and up and down and wore my arse out! I finally got him back to me again and then what??? I had not thought that far along it seems. I had cranked him to the end of my rod and he was as fresh as when I hooked him. I would guess he was around 31/2 to 4 lb and they are strong. I grabbed that bad boy in a head lock. Try that some time! Anyway I got my hand around him at the gills and got a death grip on him I then got my other hand on his head and with all I could muster, broke his back at the top of his gills.
I then got him off the hook and into my bag.
I did catch a few more that day but I suspect the blood in the water bothered them. They were hesitant to bite and even though I caught a limit, it was work. It was a lot of fun though and an interesting memory.
I have talked to others since and they have gone into spawning beds of bluegill and caught many of them.


Re: What the heck, I don't know
Posted by: mudpuppy
Date: September 25, 2014 06:43AM
:rofl::clapping: Thats the damndest thing! :lmfao: A great story to read for early morning laugh to get my eyes watering! Thanks

Nasty words, and suggestive post.

Re: What the heck, I don't know
Posted by: Larry (IL)
Date: September 25, 2014 08:18AM
Thanks for the story Royal, hilarious. :laugh:

Bells and whistles are nice, but nothing will substitute for the basic understanding of the hobby.

:minelab: CTX 3030

Thanks Royal. Good story.
Posted by: RustyNTX
Date: September 25, 2014 10:36AM
Reminded me of my first snorkeling adventure. It was on the Comal River, a spring fed stream that empties into the Guadalupe in Central Texas. Theres a lot of Guadalupe Bass in the river and I was chasing them, just trying to see how close I could get. I estimatrd them to be in the five pound range, real lunkers. That is until I reached out my hand to grab one and found that my hand was much bigger than the fish. Nobody had ever told me about the magnification factor. I was chasing hatchlings.

Nice to see a "fresh" story here Royal!
Posted by: Ron J
Date: September 26, 2014 07:24PM
I still check in here, now and then myself! :unsure:

:clapping: :thumbup: Great job Royal! ...........
Posted by: Wayne in BC
Date: September 29, 2014 12:30PM
Now try cooking that bad boy under water :bouncy:
Thanks for the new story!

A liar will assume you are lying

Thanks guys for reading and replying :DN/T
Posted by: Royal
Date: October 05, 2014 10:06PM

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Still a good story my friend.. hope that all is well down your wayN/T
Posted by: Mikie
Date: February 03, 2016 05:26PM

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Re: What the heck, I don't know
Posted by: hawgdawg
Date: December 19, 2016 09:59AM
Fishing amongst the fishes. Great story .

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