This early in the season we catch bass (no smallmouths yet) incidentally on shiners fished for pike. Most have been about 17 inches, the one I caught today photographed a little shorter. Catches frequent enough that we think of them, we get bass at the end and along the jetty at Spruce Run Creek's mouth, and in Back Brook Cove (or is it Black Brook?). I once used chest waders to catch a 17-inch largemouth in 38-degree wind with some snow showers. My son's largest measured 20 1/8 inches at the end of March 2008.
Back to Spruce Run with my son, Steve Slota and his son Tom showed up half an hour later. Funny how things go. As much as one has "a wide grasp of existence," to quote my post two days ago, things can turn on a dime to make yours feel tenuous. But the wider the grasp, the less likely it is for you to get put out, depressed, defeated. It's an attitude before nature which assumes matter is fundamental and implies conceptuality ranging beyond human productions. The manmade is just rearranged elements of nature, so in order to be creative, a grasp of metaphysically given nature is necessary to change anything. And for fishing, the more you're attuned to this big picture, the less any part of it will seem to determine you. But any of us has bad days.
As we turned into the lot two days ago it felt just like coming home. Year eight including 2005. First pike trip of the season. I told Matt, "Mom's right about traditions, although we do need to find new places too."
Today it felt like we're wrapping it up, moving on, not to return. So many places I've fallen in love with I've walked away from. Usually I don't remember them much either, although when I was younger I relished memory a lot more. I like the wonder of the new, my curiosity about what will happen draws me into something like Spruce Run became for us--a place to touch base in the spring with the kids having a good time. Catching some nice fish too. That especially kept us returning and I know Steve wants to catch a pike. Matt, Tom, another friend of Matt's, me--we've caught them all along. But the fish will still be there if we move on.
The kids are growing up, the bass still here and I'm sure we just missed the pike somehow tonight. Matt got a small bass deep into dusk and had lost another close to two pounds right at his feet.