Thursday, August 14, 2008

Expect the Expected And Nothing More

Fortunately, I have rarely been skunked fishing out of Prospect Park. For those who may not be familiar with this type of terminology, "skunked" means to go fishing and catch no fish. Even when I first started out, this was not a problem. Now, it may have taken me two hours to catch a very tiny bass or fish of some sort, but I always walked away with a good time. I learned to expect what is expected. Early this morning around six o'clock I get this phone call from my cousin who lives about ten minutes away. He decided that he wanted to take his girlfriend for her first fishing experience and wanted to know if he could borrow some extra gear for the excursion. Being the fishing enthusiast that I am, I wiped the sleep from my eyes and jumped out of my warm bed to shuffle through my things. He told me that he wanted to target bass in Prospect Park, and really that he just wanted to walk and talk with her in the morning and had no expectations for catching.

As I found my extra poles and pulled out an extra pack of worms, this stuck with me. What should NYC fisherman expect from a day on the lake? I can tell you that I've come to expect at least one fish, but is that to be expected knowing how finecky fish could be at times? I thought again while I found a new pack of hooks and I paused. Without a doubt I know that I can always find beautiful scenery and a chance to think as I fish. And if I'm with a friend, I can find a good time to talk and share. It seems my cousin and his girlfriend were in for a treat today. Even if they don't catch any bass, I know that they will be content because they will have met their expectations of shared time on a beautiful lake.

Tight Lines
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Quiet Approach

I remember the lisp of Elmer Fudd contorting "SHHH" right before the "I'm hunting rabbits" part and that's about all I know of hunting. My recent experience fishing in the Prospect Park has taught me, though, an even more important truth about hunting: whether you are in search of deer or fish, these animals have developed a keen sense for their predators which are not lions or beers in big cities, but us. Therefore, I have developed six rules for how to catch Large Mouths in highly pressured areas.
Rule #1 If there are people fishing around you, go to another fishing spot. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you will never be able to control the actions of those fishing around you. You can only control you. Other people will ruin all of the rest of the rules for you.
Rule #2 Fish may not have ears like me or you, but they can hear. I have been on my cell phone talking away and marched right up to the lakeside only to see 3 and 4 pounders swimming away. On the other hand, I have quietly casted my line 20 feet or farther from the shore behind a tree and hooked bass right where I usually walk. In fact, I even watched a frog hop after my worm as I was retrieving it, and swallow my bait.
Rule #3 Do not wear really bright colors. If you can see them, chances are that they can see you.
Rule #4 Tread lightly. I was quietly fishing the other day and was casting a swirl I saw underneath a low hanging tree branch when three fellow anglers stomped their way up to me. I actually saw the fish that I was hunting turn towards my bigfooted friends and swim away.
Rule #5 Soft Casts. Sometimes you should make a splash to attract fish, but most times a smooth splashless entry of your bait into the water is more agreeable.
And finally, Rule #6 Have Patience. This type of shore fishing is slow and tedious, but should provide results. I watched a loud mouthed man curse everything including himself one day at the lake. As soon as he left, I saw two big bass swim to the shore line where he was standing. Both the fish and I were glad that he was gone.
Tight Lines
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