When I was growing up, my mom gave me a stern warning about staring at the sun.
“You’ll get crossed eyes,” she said.
I’m happy to report today that my eyes are working just fine as I resisted the urge to look at the eclipse without my weird glasses on.
I watched the eclipse from my bass boat between casts on my home lake. Yeah, it was kinda cool. But I was more interested in how the eclipse would affect the fish and wildlife.
I had built up in my mind that this was a “can’t-miss” fishing opportunity. I thought every fish in the lake would be affected by the sudden appearance of darkness in the middle of the day.
In my mind, it figured that if the major periods in the Solunar Tables would produce increased fish activity, this eclipse would have an even greater effect.
So much for theories. I did catch five crappies out of some of my favorite brush piles, but I had to earn every one of them. There was no feeding frenzy as the total eclipse grew nearer. In fact, the bites became fewer as darkness fell.
And I wasn’t able to test the post-eclipse period. Moments after it started to get light again, the skies over Parkville, Mo. opened and it poured. But I sense that the fishing would have been little different even if conditions had been better.
That’s not to say the eclipse had no effect on the lake’s fish and wildlife, though. As it got darker, schools of shad rippled the surface, much the same as they do at dusk. An owl was tricked into thinking it was night, hooting loudly. And the birds that had been calling only minutes before suddenly became silent.
But the fish? Well, I guess they didn’t get the memo.
Friends of mine who also went out on our subdivision lake also reported little or no action.
Fellow outdoors writers reported varied results. Michael Pearce of the Wichita Eagle reported excellent fishing for wipers during the eclipse. But others say they struggled mightily during the much-hyped event.
The conclusion? I don’t think there is a consensus on how the eclipse affected fish or wildlife.
The only thing I can say for sure is that I won’t miss the countless pictures of people wearing goofy glasses staring into the sky. I’m glad the eclipse is history.
Now, let’s talk about something else.