Saturday, February 25, 2017

Spring's Here

Today's temperature of 75 here in New Jersey is the highest in memory this early. I got word of trout rising for tiny midges a week or two ago. We've had mild weather with more to come. Trout were rising on the Musky on a recent morning. Not by my witness. Another informant.

It would be easy to check out Facebook and get more word on the trout, but I'll let this pass. Prefer word in person.

A friend of mine fished the Delaware and Raritan Canal on a mild day last week, three pickerel on a jig tipped by Keitech.

Spring is here.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Here's to Long-Lived Prosperity

 The man demonstrated for Mike his bait casting outfit. He gets a very long cast.

Mike Maxwell seemed especially eager, when I invited him earlier this week, to fish Round Valley Reservoir with me today. On the way, I put on Ambrosia's "I Keep Holding On," Mike not familiar, but comparing the music to Pink Floyd, as it began. An album I haven't heard in years; the rest of it is sappy, sentimental, and gimmicky, and I refused to listen, but at least one band member plays multiple instruments; the violin is real and very well played for the song I selected. Later, Mike asked me had I got the weather report. No. I'm so busy I pay little attention, but I quickly understood why he expressed eagerness earlier. Temperatures rose into the 70's; spring seems here.

Hold on, I do. All these years of Round Valley, I've sort of feared what it could be otherwise: just a place the state upkeeps, ordinary and predictable on the level of concrete intelligence. And when I got there today, I encountered a man I judged right away as the sort to experience this place that way, and I knew my gig was up. So that's how it was for me, too, as I decided to let it be and find what turns out. I even questioned the reality of what I've experienced here for years, but as two hours wore on, my mind performed one of its acts of salvation, me knowing that, no, it's not a question of reality, of course not, but what's chosen. Anyone who thinks they know the limits of reality is a presumptuous fool.

And with that, I knew, contrary to Ambrosia's attitude, all my yesterdays have not gone by after all. Food of the gods, ambrosia; someone or other, I forget which name, once remarked that philosophers live on a diet of ecstasy, citing longevity among them, and I could point out that ecstasy, I think, is better than muscular exercise. No one lives longer by an unreal factor, either.

We sort of crowded the other guy's spot. Best spot to fish, so happens. Upon arrival, I spoke to him, but he was little willing to reply. I engaged another opportunity later, which oiled gears a little, and then, when he later began packing it in, I broke the ice. The three of us stood there together talking for at least 15 minutes, as it became progressively evident this man is deeply experienced, fishing. He fished bass tournaments nationwide during earlier days. When he walked on out of ear shot, I said to Mike, "Add 60 points to the IQ, and he'd be Ernest Hemingway."

We exchanged some information, but mostly, I specified some of the points he made, when once or twice he responded with acutely focused acknowledgement. I told Mike later that I've been fascinated in walleyes at the Delaware and Raritan Canal locks for years, and have tried one of them a couple of times or more, but as the man referred to some who do this, I just can't see myself soaking a live sunfish all night long, "watching my rod with a Glo-Stick attached 20 nights running before I get one tap."

There's life in that sort of endeavor, certainly, but although I slow down fishing trout during winters here at the Valley, sadly, most of this exercise is over for me, since I had hours every week, previously, on my lunch breaks. And it never could have been the same sort of peace an independent man with a tough low-paying job enjoys at a canal lock time after time all night. More like a multi-media event for me than that. Only, it was all a real encounter between what's out there in that sort of semi-wilderness and my consciousness.

So we left at 4:00, having caught nothing, but still talking. I shot many more photos during the last hour or so than I've posted, since I've decided not to publish most nor the best, keeping them fresh for possible book selections in the future. I knew. Those yesterdays remain here, but it's different now. Right when we had arrived, we had to rig up, and I ran into some complications. "It's amazing how quickly you go south when you lose habit," I said to Mike. When I came every other day, my tackle bag was just as messy, but I knew exactly where to put my fingers to get what I needed.  

Mike Maxwell

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Rescued Ice Fisherman

Some of you probably read my recent caveats about unsafe ice fishing. And you might have heard from the news about the ice fisherman rescued from Lake Hopatcong a few days after I posted. Police went in with ice rescue suits on and floated the guy until the fire department got him out. I would feel embarrassed to the bone...maybe a little cold, too.

What a way to end a late fall and winter musing on ice fishing that hardly ever was.