Thursday, May 9, 2013


This morning I slip-slid my way down the steep bank below the cottage to the water's edge, where I spent a half hour fishing the deep channel that runs along the middle of the stream. A nice smallmouth was nosily feeding there yesterday evening, so I had high hopes.

Alas! Either the bass had moved on, or else I wasn't offering a sufficiently seductive lure. I caught and released a couple of smaller bronzebacks, three or four rock bass, and perhaps a dozen pugnacious bluegill—about what I could have taken from the Cottage Pool, without the rough descent. But nothing worth discussing.

Not that I really cared. Spring and the stream fishing season has just begun. I'll enjoy river waltzes with my share of hefty fish sooner or later. Just dusting off the tackle and renewing old acquaintances with the rhythm of working moving water is sufficient…at least for now.

Of course my fellow feathered angler—the great blue heron wading the shallows downstream as I made my quartering casts—was fishing to eat. Not catching means not eating. I would, of course, have tossed him those smaller fish I turned loose. But somehow, I doubt the big bird would have welcomed the handout. In spring, with the sun shining and the river running full and sparkling, a liquid emerald, we anglers can afford to stand on our pride.


Gail said...

HI GRIZZ - there is nothing more natural and freeing than a story of fishing from young boys to old men, young girls and their Dad's, father's and grandfather's with sons and grandsons and grand daughters. and everyone in between. My daughter still recalls warmly how my Dad thought her to be the best worm finder ever! A tribute she holds in the highest regard.
I think too that the most simple and free fishing days are when one embarks alone - to sit and cast and wait and feel each moment, perhaps a tug, a swirl as the waters ripple and open. It is all so glorious and I so loved being part of your fishing adventure this Spring morn. And happy one day early birthday. I posted on Facebook - go see,
love to you

The Solitary Walker said...

A nice, observational piece — understated, and quite lovely, Grizz. 'A liquid emerald'! It's worth saying that, even though your balanced, conversational sentences seem to be tossed out effortlessly, this is the result of long practice, I know that. You have a talent of making something memorable out of 'relatively' nothing!

Grizz………… said...


I've long held that fishing is—at its core—really a spiritual pursuit…contemplative, often solitary, an act of communion between water and sky, angler and fish, fundamentally different worlds, unseen and mysterious, occasionally connected by a gossamer line. Rivers and brooks run through my life like blood through my veins. In some ways, I'm only really me when I'm on a stream.

It's wonderful your daughter got to share such moments with her grandfather, and now has those memories to treasure.

Thank you so much for your kind birthday words. They mean a lot. As to tomorrow's plans…not much. Rain is predicted, and Myladylove has to work until 6:30 or so. Saturday we'll likely meet the daughter and son-in-law and eat out. Don't know where. No ideas or desires. Couldn't think of any gift ideas, either. I'm just a fount of ignorance. Otherwise, I'll probably write a column, maybe put up a blog post. Noon and I may share some kibbles. Exciting, huh? Still, geezerhood doth creep, with or without my participation!

Grizz………… said...


You are very kind in your comments. Writing is like any other performance art—practice helps! The more you write, the better you get…at least within the limitations of your talent and the alchemical workings of your mojo on a given day. Good writing should flow, even sing, though without calling attention to itself. Up-front and honest prose. Invoking a sort of magic in the way good poetry does.

You know that already, of course, because you write so very, very well. Some days it's easier than others, of course…but it's never good unless you've put a bit of your soul into the words.

I honestly don't mean to imply this applies to me…but I've always observed how a good writer can write about the most mundane things and make them interesting. Also, I find many little life moments are oddly fascinating when you examine them from a certain perspective. So much of life takes place within the weedy thicket of the commonplace and ordinary—yet there are nuggets to be found in there among the boring tangles, bits of wit and wisdom lost in the minutiae.

I've often had to make something out of nothing because nothing was all I had. A skill born of desperation!

Gail said...

HI AGAIN - my Dad loved to fish - mostly salt water and felt like a king when he could get out on one of those deep sea boats for a day. We grew up near the water and I recall going clamming - such fun. And I can still see him cleaning fish in the back yard - ick, but those flat fish were so good and the eels? Oh how I loved the eels. He oven fried them in an egg batter that was so good. I wasn't too crazy about blue fish - very oily.

Your words about the spirituality of fishing and being in communion with the water and sky were so beautiful to read and feel - my Dad had his favorite folding fishing chair - and it has been passed down thru the years - my sisters boys have it now - a treasured keep sake. Skipp had it for a long time and it is now here in Clinton and handed down or across to her boys. Skipp has my Dads tackle box with some of his hooks and lines and lures and other fishing gadgets. Cool huh? And so the tradition, the sport, the magic of it all carries on from pole to pole, hand to hand. Amen.
Love to you

Grizz………… said...


Sorry to be slow in replying—I just forgot that I'd cleared this comment last night.

Anyway…I can certainly relate to your memories of fish, fishing, boats, and puttering around the water. I grew up the fishing son (and later, professional fishing writer) of a skilled and devout fishing father. Before I could walk, Dad took me fishing, carrying me atop his shoulders as he waded and fished his way upstream. He built rods and other tackle in the basement, made lures, tied bass and panfish and trout flies at his fully-stocked bench—and taught me to do the same. He kept mealworms and had a big nightcrawler and redworm box buried in the back yard. We seined minnows and collected crawfish. Iced fished. And at any given time, owned anywhere from one to three boats, nothing fancy, just an old outboard or cartopper, maybe a rowboat, and a canoe. We fished Lake Erie and countless inland lakes, rivers, creeks, ponds, etc. And as a family, not only ate fish weekly, but often daily, even for all three meals on occasion. I've fished all over, of course. And I still find the act contains much potent magic. I believe genuine fisherman are born, not made.

I have many things—precious keepsakes—from those old days, too…though it's really difficult for me to handle them much, as they're so infused with memories. Not a very he-man admission, huh?