Fish, eagles and such
With spring and Easter comes the opening of trout season for local outdoorsman. For some, the hype is only for that opening day—a day to take their children to a local pond or stream and harvest some of the newly stocked trout. For others, like myself, the season is long anticipated simply for the ability to go out and meditate with a line in the water. Of course, I’m happy to catch fish, and that is a large part of why I’m there. But the time spent trying is equally gratifying. That’s why they call it fishing and not catching, after all. If all it took to catch a fish was the effort of showing up and putting a line in the water, fewer people would do it. It’s like the old adage, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”
With this in mind, I skipped the opening day of trout season. Not entirely because my schedule would not allow it, but also because I prefer the tranquility when fewer people are competing for space to fish. Most of the year, many fishermen have all the room they could want, so, like them, I simply skip the “Black Friday” of the fishing calendar year.
I have had a chance to get out since then with my lovely wife and son. Having only just turned a month old, my son was content to watch the bobbers from inside the car with his mother. It wasn’t an ambitious outing, we just parked at the public launch, and I rigged a few lines with bait and bobbers and cast around a bit with a spinner on yet another rod. Being early spring, it was too cold to have the baby out, but, in the future, we may make a picnic out of this. I’m sure that, before I know it, he’ll be big enough to be casting his own line. In the meantime, it’s good to be blessed with a nature-loving wife.Had she not been tending our son, we may have caught something on this outing. I myself came up short when it comes to fish; it was much like the first ihalf of “The Old Man and the Sea,” a lot of effort with no results. But, as I said before, it’s about the journey, right? And a day on the water beats a day in the office, as they say.
The weather was nippy, but spring still shone through: The water is open from the wintery ice. The trees have begun to pop their buds. Mud seems to be the new grass. And, perhaps best of all, the birds are returning. On our way home from the lake, I noticed dignified mature bald eagle perched atop a dead tree along a stream winding its way southwards from the lake. He sat studiously, staring down at the water below, I’m sure to find any trout that would have washed downstream from the lake with all of the recent rain.
Eagles are handy when it comes to fishing. They seem to know where the fish are. Just last summer at Upper Woods Pond in Wayne County PA, my wife and I were canoeing and fishing. As we made our way around the lake, a rather bold eagle kept a vigilant eye on us. As it turned out, the corner of the lake he guarded seemed to be the best fishing for us as well. He yelled at us a bit for the intrusion, and I was half tempted to leave him a good-will offering. But before we had left that day, he seemed to have had every bit of success we had.
So opening day or not, the fishing so far this year is fine. The tally may rest at a zero, but I’ve already begun to shake off the winter funk. I’ll be returning to the water soon, a rod in one hand and my family in the other.