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Ronan's report


Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

I think it was Paul Arden who once said, “Life is an exploration. Bring flyrods.” Channeling Paul’s spirit, Brian and I found our way through a blackberry thicket to the edge of a small, manmade pond.

Close your eyes for a second and envision it. T-shirt weather: 82 degrees and sunny. Finally. The pond is somewhat rectangular in shape, and filled beyond the brim with murky water. Flooded reeds and weedy slime choke the margins where it doesn’t run up against the industrial infrastructure. There are power lines, maybe some railroad tracks, and plenty of discarded soda bottles, plastic bags, and broken glass. Plenty of bushes and thorny blackberry vines are there, too, ready to snag waders and errant backcasts. From the pond margins, you can’t really see the road, but you can hear the sound of cars and the occasional semi-truck hauling by. And it turns out there are fish in this pond. Not popular classy fish like trout or steelhead, but tough customers that can handle warm, murky water and low levels of dissolved oxygen. Sunfish. Bass. Suckers. Carp.

It is exactly the kind of spot where you’d only expect to find only one type of angler – local kids that can walk or ride their bikes to the spot. It felt like the kind of place where noone else in their right mind and/or who owned a car would ever bother fishing.

Except us.

We had the pond to ourselves for an hour or so, and managed to find a couple of fish along with some weeds and sticks. Mission: Accomplished. Then, we heard some voices from up above and a rustling in the blackberries. Anglers. A teenage boy and his younger sister, here to enjoy the sun, soak worms, and cast lures for whatever might be in that murky pool. I think they were plenty surprised to see us there, but they were friendly and curious and passionate (my favorite type of angler to meet on the water).

We fished within eye shot of each other for an hour or so, enjoying the day. Brian and I managed to fool a couple of medium sized carp that were cruising slowly and feeding on what looked to us to be balls of slime. Not exactly classic fly fishing. The young anglers picked up a few bluegill and a small bass or two (we couldn't fool the bass even though we tried). They noticed that we had hooked a couple of carp, and after a while, came over and asked if we were really catching them on fly rods or just snagging them.

We assured them that they were eating our flies. Brian, always brimming with confidence in that fishy sort of way, said “watch this” and proceeded to get the next carp that swam by to eat his fly (and then botched the hookset). But the kids saw it all. They exchanged a glance and some sort of telepathic communication only possible between siblings and lifelong fishing buddies, thanked Brian, and took off into the blackberries.

Half an hour later, as we were leaving, the same teenage boy came back down to the pond, flyrod in hand. He must have run all the way home and back. He was visibly excited, showed us his flies, and asked which one he should try. Somewhere in the motley assortment I spotted an olive Woolly Bugger. I pointed and said “that one”, gave him a few tips on things to try, and we headed back to the truck. I’m kicking myself now for not giving him a couple more bugs to try. It was great to see a kid so fired up about a fish that most people consider trash. Clearly, that is a learned prejudice. To him, the carp were just the biggest fish he’d ever seen in his home water, and he wanted to catch one, fair and square. He would even go so far as resorting to fly fishing to do it.

Our part of the story ends there, but I’ve been wondering about how that local kid ended up faring after we headed out. Maybe he ended up with the biggest fish story of them all.

Take Care and Fish On,
Matt


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