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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
...as in, "Look out for the..."

Had an experience the other day from which I've made some mental notes, and thought I'd share... maybe someone more veteran than me might elaborate; maybe someone might benefit... who knows...

Anyhow, here goes...

I took my son and nephew to the local pond Saturday. Several other dads and kids were nearby, most fishing some variety of worm or another under bobbers. Across the bay (30 yards, maybe? 40?) the area dog owners were flaunting the town's leash law, throwing floats for their dogs to swim and retrieve. Typical Saturday morning.

Then there were the ducks. The boardwalk here is right along a creek channel. The ducks like the grassy banks just a little farther up the creek. Every now and then a crowd of ducks would paddle over by the far side of the creek, much to the delight of the dogs. After a little while, a couple of them decided to paddle over past our side of the creek. As one swam past my bobber, I thought to myself "I sure hope he doesn't get tangled in the line."

Apparently the girl a few feet down from me didn't think that to herself loudly enough. "I CAUGHT A DUCK!!" And sure enough, dad had just taken her little brother to the restroom. Picture a very distressed 8-10-year-old. Yikes, what am I gonna do? Well, I reeled in my line as fast as I could and grabbed my line clippers. I reassured the young lady that this was an accident, she should relax, I'll cut the line as close as I can, and the line will work its way loose. Calm down, I'll help you.

Now enter the spectators. "Don't just cut that line. I saw a duck all tangled in fishing line the other day. IT ALMOST DROWNED. " "You need to get the ranger." Tell ya what, lady (I was wise enough to keep this thought inside) YOU come hold the duck and I'll untangle the line. Grabbing frightened wildlife is not something I make a point of doing on a regular basis. In fact, I generally try to avoid the practice.

Well -- fortunately one of the spectators decides that she's capable of running up to the boathouse instead of continuing to encourage this distressed young lady. Great -- I hope the "ranger" she finds is at least a rising senior. I'm pretty sure the town does not staff licensed NCWildlife rangers -- no offense to the park staff, far from it -- I'm just fairly certain that "Ranger" in the formal sense of the word is not part of their job description. Anyhow -- a guy of manager stature comes trotting down, handily equipped with a box-cutter (utility knife). I'm pretty sure my fishing pliers and their built-in cutter is a safer tool for this job.

Meanwhile dad made it back, and after a brief adrenaline rush at finding his little girl not where he left her, he experienced a new adrenaline rush at discovering her current plight. The duck had sought cover in the aforementioned grass, so we had followed it as far as we could. We're 8-10 feet down the bank from the duck. Dad slides out of his flip-flops and wades into the pond, and manages to get his hands around the duck. Sure enough, from that point, it takes an entire 15 seconds to get the line untangled and release the duck to regain its composure.

So... what "lessons" have I learned?
Biggest one is, it's probably a good idea to reel in your bobbers when the ducks come by for a visit. They'll probably be gone in a few seconds and you can throw your line back out again. Or, you can move to another spot. Its wise for several reasons not to get too stuck to one particular place. Most other types of presentations are not as likely to entangle waterfowl as bobbers are.

I still think it was a good thing to do something, rather than stand by and watch. I may not have had the best solution, but I was the only one who bothered to get off his duff to help this kid. And if by chance I'd have found myself second in line to help, it would be worth my effort to make sure any suggestions are both suggestive (as in, not commands) and constructive in nature. When the adrenaline starts going, suggestions can very easily be misconstrued as being critical.

I still am not crazy about approaching a frightened animal. I know ducks are much smaller than geese -- sure don't wanna cross one of those -- but I'd imagine that a duck could still do a number on a misplaced finger, and he can probably reach a lot farther and quicker than I think he can.

Anyhow -- that's my current thinking on the subject... Thoughts? Suggestions?
 

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hey atleast you thought to help! I dont like to worsen the situation with some of the fairer gender but they like to jump to conclusions. cut the line and let it be. The hook will work its way out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Actually the hook was only nestled around the duck's ankle. The biggest part of the problem was that it was tangled in the line. If I'd have pulled on the line to drag the duck close to me, I probably could have cut it to where there was only 2 or 3 feet of line out there.

Of course, as it turned out, we were able to retrieve and properly dispose of all of the line, in this case.
 

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Been there done that, We basically had the same comedy going on with people screamin and yellin and offering all kinds of advice till the little old guy shuffled up and without a word took a towel tossed it on the ducks head grabbed the head through the cloth and proceeded to cut off the line. He then walked away still without saying a word
 

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I've had my kids at ponds and have had the ducks come over too. 90% of the time its because the kids are getting out the snacks. Those ducks can hear a chip bag opening from the other side of the lake. Point is, the ducks usually come over when there is a chance they may get something to eat. We try to keep the snacks to a mimimum and when the kids do eat, I try to get them to move away from where we are fishing. Just a thought.
 

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I wouldn't get too discouraged lefty... you were trying to help. I would have done the same thing. Any animal no matter how "cute" has that fight or flight instinct and if you tried to grab it, it could have easily made the matter worse for you and the duck.
 

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now me i like ducks -served with gravy-.. i actually cut a duck loose once he bit me. i went back the next day with my labs.. they had a feild day.

zooker
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm not discouraged -- went back to the same spot tonight, as a matter of fact. The boys weren't too interested in fishing, though.

The experience did give me a chance to think the thing through, though. Like I mentioned, next time the ducks come around, I'll reel in my bobber, if applicable, to try to avoid tangling him up in the first place.

Once that happened to that little girl, I'm confident in my response. Priority #1 was this upset little girl needed to know someone was helping. Priority #2 was helping the duck without endangering anybody (including myself). Arguing with the spectators is about priority 47. If they'd like to discuss the safety of waterfowl at the lake, they should consider it fortunate that the same government Commission that manages wildlife habitat, sponsors the Community Fishing Program at that lake.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Nope, Bond Park in Cary. I've been meaning to head down and check out Bass Lake one of these days. Need to take a Saturday sometime and make a tour of the county's bank-fishing spots, if for no other reason than to say I've been there... Either that or schedule a month of Saturday mornings to make the rounds early....
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'll keep the towel idea in mind, thanks!
Heh heh -- I suppose if he thrashes even more with the towel over his head, that'll prove the wisdom of keeping my distance!!
 

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usually they'll calm down, just handle the animal in a calm manner.. dont talk to it like a pet... cover it's head, hold it the best you can, take care of business and set it free.

A pelican will flat slap ya around.. just get their head/eyes covered up and their much easier to work with... they're scared enough...
 

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Seriously, people like that lady bug the living heck out of me. Your tongue gets held easier than mine. I'd have snapped at that lady and said some things the little girl shouldn't have heard. "Listen lady, it's just a duck. they'll hatch more, i promise!!!"

On the serious tip though, where was this "Ranger" when the people were breaking the Leash Law? I know hindsight is 20/20 but maybe we should start speaking up when we see people harshing on our good time and ruining good fishing holes.

I know the other day I was fishing at the reservoir and some kids were chunking BIG rocks into the space behind the dam, and I was very fast to tell them "Hey, guys, not a good idea there. That messes up where the fish bite and scares them off." And sure enough... the rock throwing game came to an end.

What do you guys think? Should us fishing type persons start speaking up to this sort of thing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think it's healthy for us as a society to be able to raise issues like this with each other. Being able to say, and to receive, statements like reminders to obey the leash laws, or to note that you may be doing something that a nearby fellow citizen considers inconsiderate, is a necessary thing to avoid minor disagreements from becoming major.

If your kids watch you disregard the leash law, and disregard the speed limit law, then what other laws are they going to expect to be negotiable? And it's not just laws -- vocabulary that was considered rude is now becoming so prevalent that it's hard to escape, and photographs that were once "pornographic" are now considered "advertising".

Our society in general, though, seems to have grown to take such offense at these statements that most folks have ceased to offer them. Makes for a difficult parenting task when your kids point out that someone else is doing what you've told them not to.

On a recent walk along the trail at this lake, I decided to start joking with other patrons about the leash law -- "gee, those invisible leashes don't work too well", and "I thought the dog was the one supposed to wear the leash"... (I do find it terribly funny when folks carry their leash draped over their own shoulders.) After half the hike, though, I decided to try the opposite approach, and started thanking those who were using their leashes (properly) and cleaning up after their dogs (also required by Town of Cary ordinance).

Not sure if it'll do any good -- who knows, maybe....
 

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Wow! Who would think that so many people could get so exicted about so little. As for the duck (or gull, pelican, etc), it's a duck,not a rabid weazel. It isn't going to peck you to death ... and if it does, you are just too darn slow. Keep your fishing rag at hand (like on your belt clip) and use it as a blinder to calm the bird and then remove the offending line, hook, or whatever. I know a floppy hat will calm a gull enough to get a hook out of its beak.

As for the leash laws, I'm not sure that having a retriever chasing a float is exactly the felony of the year. Yeah, I know we can get into that slippery slope of what rules can you break and what on earth we are teaching our children when they see a dog off leash, but how silly can we get. If the dog is dangerous or creating a serious public problem, keep them on the leash. If you are just letting your animal do what it does naturally and no one is getting hurt, let it go. Maybe a good dose of common sense would be beneficial.

It seems to me that the undercurrent of all this is that somewhere a fisherman is being disturbed. Well, folks, we are not the only people in the ecosystem. Adjust. Adapt. Live and let live. Move on.

Seems like many here have gotten their knickers in a twist over
 
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