Friday, August 26, 2011

Monksville Reservoir Officials Pull a Fast One

Intention today was see if some snake searching was possible--not really, Harriman State Park in Rockland County, New York, was too well traversed and habitat didn't lead us anywhere otherwise, and trails near Ringwood yielded nothing, but were very well enjoyed--and then to fish Shepherd Lake in Ringwood State Park. I had phoned ahead earlier and was assured boats would be available given that it's a weekday, and, no, hurricane preparations would not curtail our use. I pulled in at 3:30 p.m. and was politely informed the boats had already come in--for hurricane preparations. The female college student displayed a remarkable empathy, I appreciated that, and drove on with Monksville Reservoir immediately in mind. Monksville, aka, Skunksville Reservoir to many disaffected anglers.

I snapped on a Rebel Pop-R, and baited my son's hook with a shiner. Before he even got bored in the heat and dulled by stained water, I noticed that my Pop-R did not float back up after a pull. "No," I thought. My second cast, it couldn't be. The bass was very small, but enough for me to say to Matt, "Never judge a lake until you try it." It made me happy for a full few minutes, a spike in an otherwise disapointing day, although at the end of this day I felt an abiding satisfaction. What had really moved me most were the mountains and hiking. But persistence with that plug--as if it hadn't just been luck, as Matt claimed it was--and a switch to a Senko in what appeared to be a nice, large pocket of deep water besides a concave weedline corner got me functioning very favorably for awhile. Fishiing is mostly hope, and hope is a very dangerous chemistry because it can lead an individual desperately astray. That's why fishing facts are crucial--they allow you to know enough to actually get results and keep hope at bay by actual fulfillments. Just the same, it's better to be a dreamer than to presume to know.

We had arrived at the last boat launch to fish where we could. At 5:30 we heard Joe Official on a bullhorn telling us that the gate would close at 6:00. OK. What angered me was not our loss--we would leave before then anyhow. At that moment, not only were a father and son unloading their kayak, two younger men had just made the oppositte side of the reservoir in theirs, and two vehicles and trailers were in the lot--no way for any of these people besides we at the ramp to hear the Official. When we left we noticed a little sign on the half-closed gate informing The Public that the gate would close at 6:00 due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Irene. (Today is Friday.) This notice was not there minutes before. All those on the reservoir, I guess, were screwed. Locked in?

My son said the police would check, let them out, fine them. Whatever the case, my question is about the real justification for a 6:00 p.m. early closing of that gate. Was the park service up there so overwhelmed with preparations they had to take that as a first step? Or were they infatuated with a chance so show their muscle?

I was appalled at the utter disregard for those out on the reservoir who had no way to know that the park police would pull that move. An 8 x 11 1/2 inch sign posted on the gate at the last minute, and a sick little bullhorn that just made the man's voice robotic.

Anyhow, driving home I never turned on the radio. We had escaped hurricane madness most of the afternoon. Once home, my wife had CNN and the weather channel on with the endless talk, talk, talk--and I don't mean no valuable information is conveyed. It's just that nonetheless it is a trance.  

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