Patricia and I first visited Millbrook Village, spending time inside the residence, church, general store, and at the blacksmith's shop. It made us think about how hard it must have been to settle in the wilderness, first living in a cabin as farming was tended, and then finally enabled to build a modest house for generations thereafter to live in. And then in the 1970's, along comes our dear old government, forcing them out under eminent domain. For absolutely nothing. The Tocks Island Dam was never built and should never have been considered. A waste of time and human life. All that work to settle in this little village--taken away by the delusions of politicians, believing they were going to dam the Delaware.
We hiked the trail up along Van Campen's Brook. I fished a size 12 nymph on my 6-foot TFO two weight in not many more than a few runs and little pools, losing a five-inch trout with some red on it, so probably a brookie for color to have been that distinct. I had expected a little brown and maybe that's what it was, I couldn't tell for certain. Sadie the Labrador kept crashing into the water and after trying the little I did, I drew the line against my urge to catch some trout and hiked on further with my wife.
My son and I fished Blue Mountain Lake with shiners last year and got skunked, so I felt wary of letting my hopes get the better of me, but I wanted to fish it again. We sighted a five-pounder, and several about three to three-and-a-half last year. The water's clear. So I went to a spot sloping into deep water, fishing deep thoroughly to no avail. I winged my Senko-type worm shallow near the bank many yards ahead of me, had a take, set the hook, and missed it. Then I missed another hit and imagined this was a small buck guarding a bed. I lost interest. Then, as often happens, I felt my inner state come to peace and resolution. I was looking up the bank. How can you see a "pocket" when all the eye really registers is calm water of a sort of grayish reflection in the shade? Water I couldn't see through to anything from this distance where my intuition told me exactly to place the next cast. I hadn't stood over the spot on this day or last year. Nevertheless, as I cast the worm, feeling the most meaningful assurance I had felt for the past half hour of fishing, when it hit the target it felt like destiny. The worm slipped under, began sinking, the line twitched, I set the hook, and was into a really good bass. I thought it was larger than it really was--a 17-incher apparently spawned out--because it fought hard.
I called for my wife to photograph me with it, released it, and we departed the lake.