Monday, May 9, 2011


It's hard to stay pure. Damn hard, especially when it's early May, the wind's blowing like hell, the water's all turbid and roiled, just like you like it when you know the bass are close to the bank and just waiting to slam that spinnerbait slooowly rolling by, and you're standing there with your flyrod, because you want to capture the purity of experience.

It's hard to stay pure. Damn hard, especially when cast after cast, strip after strip brings nothing but new combinations of the seven dirty words and there's no room for your pitiful-looking backcast or your laughable water-swatting roll cast that doesn't so much roll as tumble a few feet before collapsing into a tangled mess.

So you snap, say to hell with purity. To hell with the new, the difficult, the exciting and exotic. Your redneck id rises up, demands results. Action. Fish. You turn around, walk back to the car, break down the flyrod, stuff it in its case, grab the baitcaster and seven-foot spinnerbait rod that just happens to be sitting there and - like a dieter sneaking into the Krispy Kreme - skulk on back to the water, all high-minded piscatorial ideals sent scurrying away by the desire, the need, to just. Catch. A. Fish.

And the first cast, the first freakin' cast! The suddeness of the strike is like a splash of color in a grayscale world. You feel that familiar jolt of unbridled savagery and you are finally, finally, into a fish. A good one. Not huge, but good. You cast again, and this time the spinnerbait disappears mere feet off the bank, right in front of you. You feel the violence spread into your arm. You judge the serious weight on the line and make the calculation that - in the parlance of our times - you have done hooked yourself a hawg.

The fight is brief, violent, wet and right at the rod tip. You lip her, gravid and huge, bring her half out of the water. No time for dicking around trying to get the hero shot. You slip the spinnerbait out of her yawning maw, hook the digital scale in the corner of the mouth, gape at what it tells you and then quickly slip her back into the water.

You move her back and forth, then release. She stays there for a second, suspended, brooding with those thick, hulking shoulders. Mottled sunlight and shadow play on the water, give it a rainbow kaleidoscope quality. And then, just like that, she's gone. Your high, however, remains.

  If, as they say, the tug is the drug, and we are but willing junkies, then I guess it doesn't really matter what conveyance we use to fall off the wagon. Fly rod, baitcaster, hell, they're all good...


  1. Purity? I once heard Lefty Kreh remark that he'd (and had) fish a trotline if conditions warranted

  2. You are a pure fisherman. That's all that matters.

    You could have used what Pat McManus referred to as a "#8 pink nightie" on the end of that fly rod...