Thursday, May 10, 2018

A simple issue of catch and long-range release

Okay gang, normally I would tell you all about this at Friday's Loveland Fishing Club breakfast.  But I will be gone tomorrow.  So consider the following to be a trustworthy account of the events of May 10 at Rivers Edge Natural Area, submitted by a beloved past President and verified by Dennis Kelsey, a long-term club member never known for exaggeration:

As we trundled onto the dock on Dragonfly Pond, we could not help but notice an enormous largemouth bass cruising along the shadowy side of the dock, a conservative 19, maybe 20 inches in length.  Call it 20, and weighing at least 4 1/4 pounds.  Trying to entice a bite was wasted effort; this bass didn't get this big by being gullible.

Anyway, about an hour into the fishing, and relying on my trusty ultralight rig -- 4-pound Nanofil line, 1/32-ounce jig and one-inch Gulp Minnow -- I hooked a fine, fat 10- or 11-inch rainbow.  Call it 11.

Skillfully I reeled it to within a foot or two of the dock, when -- SUDDENLY!  the giant largemouth emerges from the shadows and chases the trout down the length of the dock.  Then back.  Then ENGULFS that poor fish with one giant swallow, leaving 3 inches of trout tail protruding from its jaws.  Then the victor slowly headed for deeper water, a loose drag the only thing between it, me and a broken line. 

After a battle that seemed to last an hour, and was likely at least two minutes, the bass turned and swam back toward the dock, where I waited in premature triumph and Dennis waited with net in hand.  That's, uh, where this report gets a bit awkward.  The damned bass then coughed up the rainbow and swam back under the dock. The damned trout emerged from its ordeal mortified but otherwise unhurt and - this is important - still firmly hooked until given its release.

So here is the question:  Was this not a legitimate case of catch and release?  And with the victim's tail protruding at least 3 inches from the largemouth's large mouth, the combined catch was a full 5 inches beyond minimum criteria for Colorado Master Angler status.  (With a short-term weight of 4 1/4 pounds of bass plus 12 ounces of trout, it was also a nifty 5 pounder.) Even Norm and Dan, not to mention my brother Paul, should have no problem with this reasoning.

So, Dennis and I will leave the math to our esteemed judge, Jim Roode.  But it sure seems like I am now the leading contender for Loveland Fishing Club Angler of the Year.  Congratulations are clearly in order.

Respectfully submitted,
Bill Prater


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Tell young friends about the Loveland Police Fishing Derby! Saturday, June 3

Under the oversight of Keith Gentry, the club's role in the annual event at North Lake Duck Pond is taking shape.  We'll be handling event registration, tackle loans, measurements and the free raffles and prizes for biggest and smallest trout.

The event opens at 8 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m.  If you've not signed up yet to volunteer, look for the signup sheet at Friday breakfasts.  This is our largest annual volunteer project.

As in years past, Colorado Youth Outdoors will be cleaning and cooking the kids' fish, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife will stock the pond with trout.  Loveland Kiwanis clubs will provide family priced food and drink and Colorado FOP lodge 27 and 52 will provide free child identification cards to children up to age 14.  The event is sponsored by Loveland Police.

Keith with last year's big fish winner

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Former club member Jerry Belko has passed away in Utah

Gerald F., Jerry, Belko, 86, died peacefully at his home in Sandy, UT on April 23.  

Born in Hobart, Indiana April 16,1932, he received full scholarship to Idaho State to play basketball, where he is a member of the ISU Hall of Fame. He also played Semi-Pro Baseball for the Orioles and Pirates organizations. Gerry served in the US Army's 5th Armor Battalion at Fort Chaffee. He moved to Chicago to start a family and serve as VP of HR at American Hospital Supply where he remained for over three decades and received many awards for his contributions and community service. 

Married to Sandra Locke Belko after the death of his first wife Diane Turner Belko, he lived in Loveland and Hawaii before moving to Utah. He is survived by wife Sandy; three children Frank, Barry and Savannah; three step children Marty, Mike, and Steve Locke; and many grandchildren.