Thursday, October 10, 2013

Delaware and Raritan Canal Recreation at Weston

Tried the Delaware and Raritan Canal again, at Weston, attempting pickerel with shiners--nothing happened. But I fished with vital enjoyment, practicing my pitching and casting in and around thickets. I must have made half a dozen really good casts that barely missed getting hung up, one of these angled around a whole row of branches allowing me to reel the shiner underneath them. Twice I got hung up. Duckweed is still present and the tactic was to allow the shiner to swim into the darkness underneath the matts. I was a little surprised nothing was ever there to grab the bait. I walked a good eighth of a mile downstream of the lock, fishing hard as I went and really enjoying the solitude, no one having braved the weather to bike, jog, or walk the towpath.

The canal is a small waterway 66 miles long, but it's no place for an expensive boat. Most of the fishing I do is in small waters, and while I would like to fish larger waters with better fishing more, I stay within my means as I have to--and get out there. I don't limit myself to the big trips I take a number of times each year. If I can have a half hour's fishing and get my head cleared out, the positive gain is more than time easily invested. That's what recreation does--refreshes you for more serious matters.

And a lot can be said--a lot more than I will note right now--for small waters, even small waters that typically provide poor fishing, like the canal has for me during the past 20 plus years, better longer ago. Why do I keep returning to the canal? I could have fished Round Valley instead. I could have tried plastics on top of remaining duckweed at Colonial Park for bass--last I did that, I missed seven explosive hits. It's a funny thing, but while I unambiguously love lakes, rivers, the Atlantic, bays, I won't give up on little places like those I first began fishing. The first place I ever fished was the canal, when I was eight. It no longer has the mystery for me it had at that age, but I know the mystery is there and when I go, I don't want to leave detached and bored. I want to tease out a response that makes me happy, to tell me not everything in this world is good only because it is big and costs a lot.

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