With just a short window between working on an essay about a redfish adventure my family took in Charleston, South Carolina, and making the monthly Round Valley Trout Association meeting on time--which I did not make on time, due to traffic--I grabbed my tackle tote in search of Wacky Worm O-rings, and failing to find them, too harried to dig around in my study/tackle storage room, I managed to pull a Senko pre-prepared off a pile of nick-nacks on my desk, tie it on, grab my camera, and take that favorite rod to the neighborhood bass pond half a minute's walk from my front door.
I must have fished 15 minutes before I caught my first bass, feeling despair lurking somewhere down there safely at least a few miles deeper than any possibility threatening me with sinking, but I really like this pond I fish a lot less than visit nightly with my black Lab Sadie, often viewing meteors overhead, sometimes scouting a fox (Sadie barking), and once encountering a black bear.
I've reported on the fish kill here of a couple winters ago. Obviously, the pond has a long way to go before it fishes as well as used to. All three bass I caught weighed less than former average, and it took me nearly 45 minutes to catch them. But they're real, beautiful bass, and to encounter any of these fish anywhere always signals hope to me. I live in the most corrupted state a free country has ever seen--New Jersey--and yet these wild predators of astonishing vitality, coloration, and innocence coexist amidst the most dense society in the nation. Why not laugh at ourselves and take that word dense more ways than one? Our crumbling roadways may be loosening up, but we're as stiff as mythical Jimmy Hoffa's bones somewhere in the Meadowlands when it comes to change that serves everyone's well being.