Standing in the half light of dusk on the banks of a local lake, my eyes fixed
on a majestic scene of Blue Heron, Canada Geese, Mallards, Pintails, and the
odd Beaver swimming by in that "golden hour" so highly prized by
photographers, I could only marvel at the feelings of peace and contentment
the moment engendered.
It is wonderful to dream of exotic locations, and fish.
Dreams are after all the material from which realities are fashioned.
God knows we all need to slow down and escape once in awhile.
I have never yet met a boss, or even a customer
I liked quite as much as I do almost any fish at the other end of
my line, real or imagined.
Bonefish, Permit, Barracuda, Roosterfish, Marlin,
Steelhead, and Trout are certainly all very notable fish. Some of these
are accessible to us reasonably, and to the rest at some expence.
Near my home, and I would venture yours as well,
(if you will take the time to suspend your daydreams and poke around
in reality for a short time) you will find a quiet, peaceful place where
some fish may be pursued after dinner. A place where the turmoil and
hectic pace of the workday may be left behind and your tortured mind
may be healed in a most theraputic manner.
If you are fortunate to have Cuts or Goldens nearby,
you may consider yourself blessed. But, I'd wager you have wondered
what a Bass is like on your line, or what a Crappie looks like up close and
The area in which I live would have to be classed as
urban sprawl, nestled within the bosom of chaos and confusion. We call
the area Southern New Jersey. This is absolutely one of the most populace,
as well as polluted places known to western man. To be honest, if the world
should ever require an enema, this will most likely be the place where they
will insert the tube.
But, very close by are a number of sanctuaries, in the
midst of all of this corporate mayhem, and environmental genocide, providing
one the occasional glimpse of sanity which encourages life to go on.
I have seen at one of these places, directly across from
a 200-store-shopping mall and major state highway, the before mentioned,
Geese, Ducks, Herons, and much to my amazement, Beaver! I have known
this place in my youth, and perhaps now, because my second childhood is
well underway, I have rediscovered it's pleasures.
This place absolutely abounds with life, Blue Gills, Carp, Catfish,
Largemouth, and much to my absolute delight and amazement, Smallmouth Bass!
And if senility serves me, I perceive a few trout rising as well, though
I've not landed any of them, yet.
Lilly Pads, Millfoil, and many other aquatic vegetants
abound in this spring fed lake. Large grassy banks with the trees placed
by the Creator at a discreet distance from the waters edge allow for some
very nice casting indeed. (Also cuts down on the strange decorations found
in the foliage, at no small expence to many anglers, along many streams.)
While the area is definitely 'multi-use,' it is the answer to the avid
flyfishers prayer. Sight casting to Bonefish? Well no, but is that much
different than sight casting to a Smallmouth bass? You still need a great
presentation using the 'proper' cast for success. And, after all, how does one
become 'proficient' without practice? I guess we could wrestle with the
semantics of that for a few beers, but in the final analysis, who the hell
cares. I can't go Bonefishing after dinner for a couple of hours. And most of
you can't either.
But, we can flyfish!
Watching all of the pretty pictures on TV and in the
magazines may have their merit, and I enjoy them as much as anyone,
but a wet line will get you fish. And getting fish will make you a better flyfisher.
And becoming a better flyfisher will get you more fish.
Somewhere near your home is a 'personal sanctuary'
just waiting for your arrival. It will invite you into it's magical world with all
of the joy and contentment your heart desires. But, your reward will be in
proportion to your fidelity in preserving, and appreciating it's significance
in your interaction with it.
Surely it will enrich your life far beyond even your most ambitious of dreams.
Sitting on the porch at Fishing Creek Outfitters in Benton, Pa one fine spring
evening many years ago, the following circumstance was engraved in my memory.
Having returned from what had no doubt been a successful day, judging by the
look on his clients face, Barry Beck in answer to the question, "what is the
best time to go fishing,?" replied sort of matter-of-factly, "anytime you
To that I would add, and I am confident of his concurrence,
"any place you can!"
Someday we may all get to pursue the fish of our dreams,
but the angler who can pursue the dream of fishing is the richest of us all. "Only
the names of the species are changed to protect our innocence."
~George E. Emanuel