Thursday, September 19, 2013

Backwoods Bedminster Bass Pond Silted In

This evening I read one of my posts from early October, 2011, thoughts I gathered while fishing the North Branch Raritan River for smallmouths, this actually posted on my dormant blog, Fishing in New Jersey. At the end of it, I made the point that the best a government can do is protect a man's right to get up and go out alone, an opinion I still hold of course, that a just government's primary role is to protect the individual rights of the citizens of the nation it represents. I had been mulling over whether or not to post anything tonight and instead of deciding one way or the other, I remembered that this post from October 6th, 2011, was a good one, and typed in "North Branch Raritan River Release," which brought it up on Google. That last sentence hooked me. I had gone out alone earlier today, fought briars, dense vegetation, and deadfalls hiking back in woods I had never visited, trying to find a pond I was told about six or seven years ago or more.

I wasn't sure how I would really feel. I'm not 16 anymore. I fight brambles in other places, so why not. But this place had limited parking. At least I had believed it did, discovered otherwise when I got there. I had to get there by bicycle. I hid my 4 piece Ugly Stik in a backpack in its original container--some of the total sticking out the top--so I would not look like a fool pedaling a bike with a fishing pole. I slung my camera bag too and certainly appeared interesting I'm sure in rush hour traffic on 202-206. I hid my bike in the woods and followed deer trails. I had to maneuver around a lot, but I finally came to a dam. First I heard the water and figured that's what it was. But when I made my way up top, I found that the guy who told me about this place--loaded with bass, which made sense since it's below private Sunset Lake (loaded with bass) on the same stream--was no liar, but had a very long memory. There's been no bass here for many years. The entire pond is silted in. Cattails everywhere, some big, lotus-like aquatic plants but no pond at all, although the dam betrays that at one time long ago, this was a pond back in the woods.

I hiked out, still feeling good. I had found that once I was in the woods, the boyish feeling of being alone on the trail of something--possibly--enlivened me and restored an acuteness of my senses. There are places back in the woods in New Jersey that do have bass. Some of them are many miles back. And it's not aversion at inconvenience and pain at pricker bushes if you have a mind and body that can respond to this land we share. What is America? Most think of the people and of course the American people comprise the nation, but America is also the land on which we live. It might be nice to get off the sidewalks on occasion.

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