Monday, May 15, 2006

Eyes Bigger Than His Stomach

When I met and married Stephanie within the span of ten days back in 1964 she'd never fished nor learned anything about photography. A winter living in Boston had her skilled at using a Leica III-f and making her own prints. Towards the winter's end I was starting to get the bug to do some fishing, and she was eager to give it a try. We went to nearby Fenway Park and in short order she learned to cast. I set up my fly tying vice and made up a bunch of 1/4 ounce black jigs. You couldn't buy solid black ones back then but I'd learned from an old guy in Florida just how effective they were on largemouth bass. I hoped they'd work in Massachusettes too.

The third Saturday in April was the traditional Opening Day in Massachusettes. I was most familiar with the ponds and streams around New Bedford where I grew up. First light found us on a little bridge over a stream flowing into Long Pond in Lakeville. Spring rains had the stream over its banks, flooding some of the nearby woods. Soon we were both catching a mixture of largemouth bass and yellow perch. Stephanie was having a ball. Most of the bass were legal size, with a limit of five, so we kept putting the bigger ones on the stringer and releasing the smallest. After a couple of hours of pretty much non stop action I was starting to wonder how to break the bad news to her - that fishing wasn't always like this. There'd be days when the fish just wouldn't bite!

Then her rod bent down hard, for the first time line started peeling off the spool, the drag screaming. I was worried that whatever it was would head into the woods and cut her off around a tree. The fish came up towards the surface, half jumping out of the water, and just sort of wallowed there in plain sight fora few minutes before thankfully going straight down into the snag free water in the center of the creek. It was the biggest bass I'd ever seen in Massachusettes. I was having trouble keeping myself calm, forget about keeping her calm! It was obvious that this wasn't a fish we could swing up onto the bridge with four pound test line. I walked down the embankment and was able to grab the fish. My feet were soaked but I didn't care. I should print up a picture of her holding that fish. 5 lbs. 14 oz. it weighed on the scale at Maxi's Delicatessen.

Maxi had mounted fish all over his shop, and often took me fishing when I was a kid, so he didn't mind weighing the fish.

The next weekend saw us fishing once more. Stephanie was now an experienced fisherwoman. We were fishing in some little pond in Dartmouth. I soon caught this chain pickerel, only about twice as long as the lure. She thought it was cute and insisted on taking this picture. We resumed fishing until I heard the familiar sound of a screaming drag. The water here was shallow, only about three feet deep, and we soon caught sight of what was causing the comotion. Again I stepped into frigid waters. I carefully grabbed the pickerel because unlike bass they have sharp teeth. Soon we'd taken a photo and were headed back to get some dry shoes and weigh her fish. The scale at Maxi's said five pounds.

Field & Stream Magazine used to give out these bronze pin on buttons for fish that were over a certain size. I'd always wanted one and to this day never got one. Stephanie got two the first two times she'd gone fishing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice! Where you get this guestbook? I want the same script.. Awesome content. thankyou.

6:15 AM  

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