Saturday, January 30, 2016

Remembering the 1970's and Fishing as an Eternal Verity

I've understood winter as a time to reflect and read since my teens, so it's no wonder I've been posting stories more than accounts. Having missed out on the ice fishing, because I got caught up in other things, Round Valley Reservoir yet awaits laker fishing, specifically. Even more to the point--from shore. I might catch rainbows instead.

I like to get into the technicalities of the game and see how these lead to natural effects, how a creature of nature responds as the focal point of an ecosystem, me included in that particular system in which I participate. It all begins at home. After all, ecology and economics share the same prefix, and the word economics originates in ancient Greece, oikonomia, meaning the organization and management of the household. I pick up on facts like this from reading. In an uncanny way, they're native to me, just as a Litton's Lines post on Ancient Greece and Round Valley Reservoir relates a wildly weird experience I had there. Broad and sunlit, mind you.

When I'm at home arranging tackle for an outing, I always seem to start by thinking concretely on just what to gather, sort, and prepare. I do all that sort of piecemeal while clues tend to lead on to how I can fish, like little things. I find the spinnerbait stinger hooks that got lost for a year and don't need an awkward bluefish hook in the place of one of them. On and on it goes, and I start to remember other things, like the 17-inch bass caught the previous year on a certain black custom quarter-ounce Colorado-bladed job. Before long, I'm in a deep reverie, enjoying some theme or other about the outing or many of them.

That's why, once and awhile, I post themes rather than accounts, and why my accounts themselves tend to be thematic. More than how-to, where-to, tactics and patterns--why we fish matters. None of us would have done it in the first place, unless we had a basic desire to feel what it's about. And then, once we inevitably got frustrated at the difficulty, we began to piece out how to do it. But this led on for each of us who kept at it.

The more we get into it, the more we desire to experience. And if this isn't personal experience, fishing's becoming meaningless, rather than becoming more of a story.

So that's my lead and I'm going to try and keep this post reasonably short, since after all, it's only a blog through which I'm writing.

Back in the day, those world-famous 1970's when 75% or more of high school seniors smoked pot much more openly than they seem to smoke the stuff today, when rock 'n roll was in it's heyday--arguably, '70's music is better than '60's, but not as good as classical--when the weather always seemed warm and sunny--if you're my age, I bet that's how you remember it--when everyone was usually in a good mood, and if not that, in a great mood...the 70's were a time when a few friends and I--besides all this other stuff--fished the early season for largemouth bass.

Typically, it began in late February on the bottom. At least I used to crawl a Johnson Beetle Spin so slowly on gravel I noticed the second hand of my watch seem to turn at about the speed of the handle of my Penn 716. I don't recall anyone else trying this technique. It probably required too much patience. Whether or not, I do know I came up with it. Next, we got them in the mid-column with water warming a little, in between the bottom and the shallows, reeling in-line spinners slow to moderately. I think all of us fished this way. But I made my own out of knock-off CP Swing components that worked just as well. Size 6. So did an older mentor, who showed me how to do this. Brunswick Sports and Hardware in Trenton near the Lawrence Township line sold the parts, or was it Andy's Sports Shop in Trenton? Most likely, old Andy had the equipment. I'm certain now, because my mentor hated Brunswick Sports and Hardware.

Finally, when bass barely nudged into the shallows, we got them by slightly twitching 2 1/2-inch Rebel Minnows on the surface.

Why do this, when so much partying went on? I remember just once, one afternoon I hit Baker's Basin high. It was sacrilege. I really don't say this ironically, because the guilt felt palpable. We, the immoral majority who broke the law, had our ways and means of sharing the sacrament of mother nature, the bones we burned to offer togetherness.

Who knows, perhaps we released the wrath of great spirits, who would have preferred we engage other arts instead. After all, at least the spirit of great works remains with us, and to ignore this fact doesn't make them go away.

Fishing, for one of its qualities, was a way to preserve purity. I knew whatever insights I momentarily gleaned by looking askance as we got into the Dead, these insights rarely, if ever, amounted to anything, because forgotten. I never fully gave into the counter culture, as a few of my friends did and still offer everything up in smoke.

Fishing was much more important. Again, for one thing, because it was unambiguously real. I bet anyone who smokes that stuff is uncertain of reality sometimes when on it. I remember two incidents, one on an island during a calm night of camping on a lake, another in a cabin by a pond, when reality felt more certain and positive than usual, and yet so many times we teens fell prey to confusions about what deeper levels of mind informed us, while the ability to stop action and consider had got let loose like a tape we couldn't stop and rewind. And then we felt as if missing something important, since stuff happening to us we couldn't control didn't seem right for good reason. I guess adults exist who have come to terms with pot and have learned how to let control go, but I've come to good terms with life without the stuff, so it's pretty much a non-issue for me.

I fished all the time during my teens, and avoided those who smoked all the time. I gave up my closest friend--who later came back--because he went too far into the haze. The rest of us teenaged fools and pseudo-intellectual Honor Society types, after freshman year in college when I dropped out to begin in the shellfishing business, it took me three troubled years of conflict with friends to finally write them off as full of---

Is the mind's standard reality or not? If not, it can be all sorts of things, whether you smoke pot or not. Things all of which amount to social prejudices of one sort or another.

So were the '70's Purple Haze or clear sunlight? If I wrote sunshine, you might think of the code designation. I remember the sunlight.

Nevertheless, I make a confession. I honor the Dead. God save the child who rings the Liberty Bell. Robert Hunter's "Franklin's Tower" stems from his passionate love of history, which says a lot for the power of the human mind under duress of agents that destroy it. Ultimately, we can't blame the drugs as the agents. They're chosen in the context of a broader cultural power structure.

Go away and fish. You stand outside it all, looking in on the whole world of folly.

Here's the link to that Round Valley post:

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