Kyle Troutman: Trout-man's amateur fishing tips
Thousands of people, with varying levels of fishing experience, descended upon Roaring River State Park on Opening Day.
While I spent March 1 only fishing around for pictures, I will soon have to make my annual stop by the park store to get my license for the year.
The little yellow piece of paper will then spend the next seven months folded up and tucked away in my wallet, only to make an appearance on the weekends I decide to try my luck at the banks.
With a name like Troutman, I feel as though Roaring River owes me my limit each day I go out. But, alas, lunkers do not follow my siren song into my net and onto my stringer as often as they should.
Despite my lack of overwhelming success at Roaring River in the past couple years, I have learned a few things about fishing in Barry County's favorite watering holes.
Here is some advice from the Trout-man himself:
* Always be prepared. Nothing is worse than catching a fish, only for your net to be just out of arm's length. As Steven Wright once said, "There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot."
* Watch where you cast. Depending on which pond is your favorite, trees can be a persistent issue. However, If you can climb trees, you may make a bit of money recovering long lost lures and hooks -- some pretty pricey -- from the spider web of the overhang.
* Make space. While it is usually a forgone tip on Opening Day, creating space for yourself on run-of-the-mill weekends is a must, both to enjoy the stream and relax, as well as to strengthen your chances at a catch.
* Make small talk. Once you're over the "making space" portion of your trip, make some small talk with surrounding anglers. Sometimes, you'll get some real life fishing tips, like how bad an idea it is to use 10-pound, red fluorescent line at Roaring River, as I did during one of my first outings. You'll never learn these things if you don't ask.
* Watch out for children. You should always watch for children as a general rule, as hooks are flying around all the time. However, this tip is more about watching out for the children who have fishing down to a science. Spending too much time next to a 7-year-old catching a fish on every cast, while your stringer has been empty for hours, can be somewhat demoralizing.
* Relax. My trips to Roaring River are as much about getting away as they are about trying to put food on the table. With no cell phone service at the park, I always enjoy a break from the chase, though I can't stay too long for fear of breaking news. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."
Follow these guidelines and you are bound to have a good time from March 1 to October 31. And you'll probably still catch more than I will.
Kyle Troutman is the editor of The Cassville Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 417-847-2610.