We went out to feed the carp today. By the docks a couple of fellows were listlessly throwing Carolina rigged worms out in a haphazard fashion. They’d been there for a couple of hours they said, with nary a bite. Blake kept a sharp eye for any tailing carp, while I chatted with them. A little while later, we had the good fortune of bumping into Patrick, Rob, and Kara.
Patrick, Kara, and Rob
We had seen the vehicle and trailer as we biked in. Naturally Blake and I were curious as we haven't seen anyone else on the water. As they fished their way closer I hailed them for permission to take a couple of shots. The gentleman at the helm gave his assent and I asked what their luck was like today. “Not good.” He said. Their boat was nicely rigged out and both the gentlemen were working their lures through the water as the trolling motor pulled the boat in a leisurely manner. The young lady was sitting in the middle, engrossed in a book.
They pulled into the dock and after giving them a hand, we introduced ourselves; Patrick, his daughter Kara, and Kara’s boyfriend, Rob.
(Kara was reading either They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky or God Grew Tired of Us, by the way. These are the stories about the “Lost Boys” of the Sudan, the dispossessed orphans of that brutal civil war.)
As a local and long time resident, in addition to being an avid fisherman, Patrick was able to fill me in on several pertinent facts concerning what we call Carp Lake. He's been fishing this lake for over eight years, and is intimately familiar with it.
Blake and I learned that the lake is actually called Lake Uihlein. (Pronounced "U-lin") It covers 141 acres and is part of the Manatee river watershed. For those not in the know, a watershed is the area from which water can flow to a common terminus; in this case the Manatee River. It is a Class three body of water which means it is suitable for swimming and fishing, but not potable without treating. Unfortunately all of the hydrographic data for the lake is a little over seven years old, and no bathymetric data is available. So without a depth finder you'll never know where the deep holes are.
As a fellow outdoorsman, Patrick has kept a close eye on the lake. He has noticed a dramatic decrease in the size, quality, and quantity of the largemouth bass. At one time local tournaments were held on the lake. An anecdote that he recounted to me was of an early experiences on the lake and is indicative of the health and quality of the lake at that time. Fishing from the shore with his son, he was afforded the opportunity to use a jon boat. His very first cast, from the boat, caught him a respectable largemouth. The exciting thing was that another largemouth was trying to do its best to impale itself on the crankbait. Patrick told me that he has previously taken a double header from this lake. But in recent years the largemouth population has taken a dive. Possibly some of it has to do with weed control efforts. As Lake Uihlein abuts both a single family home subdivision, and a huge multistory condominium development, natural processes take a back seat to home owner’s sense of aesthetics.
Obviously, something is affecting the largemouth population. Whether it is water quality, global warming or cooling, or some other factor, I don’t know. I emailed the Manatee County Water Atlas with some questions concerning the dated data that they have, and asking when they might get new data. This might yield a clue as to what is transpiring.
Unfortunately, neither Patrick and his family, nor the fellows fishing off the dock had any luck. Even though they had a full selection of tackle at their disposal, the Bass were not cooperating.
If we had more time I would have taken more pictures, but they were on a schedule and so was I.
Patrick, when you bump into this please drop me an e-mail I would really enjoy talking with you about your experience with Lake Uihlein. And I would love to get better pictures of your rig!
Albert A Rasch
The Hunt Continues...