April 12, 2012 —
The time has come when the crack of the bat on ball, the smack of the line drive hitting the shortstop’s glove is echoing throughout the land. A small coterie of millionaires is again playing a game that once belonged to the boys of summer. Therefore, it is time for me to warm up my venerable right arm. I am once again hoping to send you young whippersnappers back to the bench, dragging your bats behind you. Just to falsely build your confidence, the first pitch will be a batting practice fastball, waist high, right down the middle at 85 miles an hour. Step up, batter.
1. Who was the author of the following books? “Pavlov’s Trout” and “Darwin’s Bass” and Fishing Lessons.” “Fishing Lessons” was far and away the better of these titles.
2. Who was the artist that did the color plates of various fish for Ray Bergman’s book, “Just Fishing?” If you reached first on that pitch, you may have noticed that I am a bit slow delivering the pitch to my catcher. Scamper on down to second base if you know this. That artist, in 1952, wrote his own fine book on fly fishing. The title of that book was?
3. Aha, now for a fastball, in on the fists. What year was the Harrisburg Fly Fishers club started?
4. Now, poor batter, watch this knuckle ball dance. In 1857, a seminal book was published that urged anglers to “turn around and fish upstream.” The title of this book was? Try for an extra base if you know the middle name of the author of this book. Swing, batter, swing!
5. Who was the author of that great sleeper of a book, “Rising Trout?” Can you name one other book written by this writer?
6. In 1985, John Gierach wrote in his book, “The View from Rat Lake,” “there are only three things in life that are dead center.” In Mr. Gierach’s opinion, what were they?
7. Now, for the pitch that will put you on the next bus for Scranton, back to the bush leagues. The pen name that Alfred W. Miller used to conceal his identity was, of course, Sparse Grey Hackle. Mr. Edward R. Hewitt had another nickname for Sparse. It was?
There are 10 questions here. Anyone achieving a batting average of .750 will receive two poorly tied flies. Answers should be sent by snail mail to PO Box 103, Hankins, NY 12741, attention Complete Tangler. Answers will appear in the April 26 column. Enjoy the bus ride.
I rarely need to give up any flies, although that retired flatfoot from Damascus, PA did surprise me one year by not only hitting my pitches over the fence but completely out of the stadium. Since then, I have learned not to pitch him any low-and-away fastballs.
For Barbara and me, the time has come to begin packing for the long ride back to the log cabin on the Main Stem of the mighty Delaware. Since I piddled away so much time this winter, my hands are now glued to the tying vice, cranking out the necessary flies for the coming season. Some of them look pretty darn good. I can only hope that with a good presentation, the trout will agree with my belief. It is most certainly their opinion, not mine, that counts. Time will tell.