Lighter Side
November 30th, 1998
"Local Fishing"
By Alan Pratt

From Pardon My Backcast
Published by Frank Amato Publications, Inc.

"Next to having an English butler, a French cook, and a harem, having a good trout water within reasonable driving distance makes life worth living. Most of us make do with a delightful, loving, hard-working, long-suffering wife, and a ten-year-old pickup that can make it, with luck, to the nearest fishing spots.

Keeping on amicable terms with your fishing widow takes many skills: plumbing, gardening, repairing small engines and appliances, moving furniture, reaching high shelves, painting stuff, even cooking, all taking up valuable fishing time, but necessary in building points toward time off for pursuit of fishes.

There are places where a fly fisher can be almost guaranteed of success. Most of them are in Alaska, New Zealand, Argentina, and other selected waters at least half an ocean and a good many bucks away. In these places almost anyone with a fly rod and rudimentary skills can become an instant expert, returning to the real world to brag of awesome catches to envious friends of equal ineptitude but thinner checkbooks. Nevertheless, with but few exceptions, I have been content with waters closer to home (and within a newspapersman's exchequer) where the fishing is, at best, sketchy, dominated by pan-size trout, with an occasional steelhead or salmon thrown in.

This is not all bad, understand, for the sport more often than not is a true challenge, not only of skill, but of patience, fortitude, and the idea that trophy trout are less of an end product than the fishing itself. Even so, I still carry the lurking thought that the next cast might cause a reckless fish of awesome dimensions to rise to my badly presented fly. Fortunately, it happens -- not often, of course, but there are moments of glory.

This philosophy has been passed down by each generation of fishers to the next. I pass it now to you, with a warning that it is essentially all baloney, but necessary baloney, to persuade you that fishless days are just as good as fishy ones.

I won't lie to you. I hate to be skunked. That goes for local waters as well as Argentina and New Zealand."

~ Alan Pratt

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