Sometimes someone else has to see the obvious for you. I've known about inflatable boats of course; I just have never seen the inexpensive purchase of such to be the solution to the problem my son and I have had: wide ranging fishing without a boat, renting where we can, and otherwise taking invitations, practicing otherwise, on occasion, contortions of shorebound angling, such as we did at White Lake in September (photographed), with virtually no room to cast. My brother Rick bought Matt an inflatable capable of carrying over 800 pounds. Uninflated, it will just fit on our porch. I simply have to get a used electric with plenty of thrust, and three life preservers.
I laughed, struck by the irony, when Matt stripped the wrapping paper. It will make this coming year a whole new adventure. Ever since we tried White Lake, a most interesting 60-some acres of gin clear, Round Valley Reservoir-like water, welling up from deep ground water as the result of an ancient, immense sink hole, I've had it in mind that this attractive lake--and Splitrock Reservoir--are inaccessible to trailer rigs. We are not equipped to challenge the Delaware, and not so advantaged for Round Valley (on very windy days, forget it) or Hopatcong, but this will also do for Merrill Creek Reservoir at 600-some acres (and possibly larger trout now than Round Valley, Steve at Lebanon Bait and Sport told me this is true, and Steve was expertly informed), Sheperd Lake, Delaware Lake sometime possibly, Spruce Run for hybrids at night (I'll also buy lighting) and I do want to get back out on Little Swartswood. A very good friend of mine lived right on that small lake in 1992 and had a rowboat in the water, tethered to a tree in his backyard.
The topwater fishing blew me away. I recently wrote, in the "Miles Davis and the Return to Fishing" post that our Delaware River trip to the mouth of the Lackawaxen River (and Zane Grey's former home) sealed my fate as a returned fisherman. But I had begun keeping my fishing log again in 1992 (hiatus from 1983). It's not that I didn't fish in-between those years, I just had to let go taking it as seriously as I had in my teens. Those teen years had been a way of life and a beautiful thing, hell-bent on staying on the successful side of the line between success and failure at fishing. But when I went away to college, I actually took academics seriously.
Miles Davis, Zane Grey, what do they have in common? Quite a lot I suppose. At any rate, I appreciate them both, and both were maverick escapees from the expected grids that try to wrap things up (and us), putting tracking cookies all over the packages. I am a free man. There are secrets I keep no one will ever know.
But I tell you, I guardedly expect a good year fishing. My wife may be losing her job, no fault of hers, my son wants to do a lot more snake searching, but it could be, thanks to Rick, the most interesting year fishing yet.
Anyhow, I'm reading Zane Grey on Fishing. His spirit--he candidly admits his boyishness--is something so fresh and pure it's as alive now as it was early in the 20th century, even though, for the most part, it's so high up there in clean air that if you were to breathe it, you might need to watch out for friendly suggestions that you visit a psychiatrist, and submit to the armies monied by billions of pharmaceutical dollars. It's as if they don't like a free man. It's as if they think a free man has what all of their power can never obtain.