After a tough couple of days, I gave the local pond a shot, but it really didn't do much to soothe. If I passed the exam after two days of classes, I'll have my first professional certificate. Sure I did well, it's just that after so many questions and tricky, I can't be certain. Looks like this evening's slow bass fishing in a shallow pond exhausted after severe winters is what I get after refusing to graduate college with a B.A. or B.S., just like they told us in the high school auditorium: You'll regret it, if you don't toe the line. But down deep I don't regret any of it, not that I would persuade any young reader to drop out, and certainly my son is an example of a young man about to take every aboveboard advantage. I certainly understand how someone could regret it, but only for not having dug deep enough with the rake of the mind. Down to bedrock to build one's own foundation of a worldview. Besides, if I've earned this certificate, I think it bodes well for mobility in society, after I spent years as a clam digger.
Started with a Strike King Senko-type, had a few very small bass play with it, and after 10 minutes decided I better pull that black spinnerbait out of my bag. I then caught a six-inch bass, fortunately hooked lightly, and then managed easily to make my way to the far shoreline, since the water's so low I got around obstructions. This is where starry-eyed Mike Maxwell believes the bass have gone. No. I did catch another little one like the other swiftly put back.
And then I was back in my safety spot, catching a bass nearly nine inches long. I thought of past half hours under very good fishing conditions like this here--water temperature in the bass optimal range, falling barometer, clouds, a fall breeze--and hooking one nice bass after another. It made the value of those little ones I caught stand out, not because they'll get bigger, but because they're just there, although the fact is some of these little ones around will likely grow, though the place is not swarming with them.
Where did they come from, I wondered. Offspring of resident bass? I thought of the mystery pond above with a fence around it and No Trespassing. And above that, a secret spring on Schley Mountain where this water I fished originates. That's what really counts. The wildness of that. Many years ago, my son insisted that we hike the mountain, and we spent hours exploring the slope, finding the tiny rill that feeds both of these ponds and eventually the North Branch Raritan River. We found a very small pond up there no one else or very few seem to know about, let alone have stood beside and seen. The rill flowing in, flowing out. All of these little bass stand a chance because of a source no one seems to have discovered.