Monthly Archives: June 2010
Saturday’s kayak excursion delivered one very nice largemouth (see below), a mess of panfish, a lot of paddling and a chance to see one of the two resident bald eagles that patrol the south end of the lake and the river. I managed to get these shots of the eagle before my phone crapped the bed.
There was something in the mythology or attitude or presence of that bird that was tremendously empowering and settling at the same time. He was a talisman, a force of nature, an entire nation perched and vigilant. But he was a fellow fisherman as well, with the patience of time…confident in the fortune of instinct. It didn’t matter if I caught a single fish at that point. I was happy to simply be sharing the same circle of existence.
We wrapped up the evening with wings, burgers and some barley pops. After I got home and unloaded my gear, I crawled into bed and fell asleep with thoughts of the boys fighting scrappy Father’s Day bass dancing in my head.
The next morning arrived bright and early…the kids descending on me with PJs, bed-head and handmade cards and crafts. I hadn’t even barely put a foot on the floor next to my bed when the conversation turned to:
When are we fishin’ dad?
How many minutes till we go?
Can I go get my tackle box from the barn?
Oh yea…mom got BACON for breakfast!
Father’s Day isn’t Father’s Day without bacon for breakfast.
After church and a couple small chores around the house, the boys and I were off to catch bass. The ladies elected to stay and enjoy the pool, and some peace and quiet.
I had mentioned that the bass ponds on my in-law’s property are easy pickin’s. I don’t think I mentioned that the ponds are on their golf course. Bass fishing with my boys on a golf course on a blue-bird, Father’s Day afternoon. Like Old Milwaukee, it just doesn’t get any better than this. We loaded the gear on a golf cart, waving to foursomes and smiles and shouts of Good luck! as we made our way back to the pond at hole #3.
My youngest, Jonah, struck green first. His first full-size rod and reel, and his first bass. When he had backed the fish safely on the grass, he let loose some fist pumps like he just boated a tarpon…or won the Masters. Cam quickly followed suit with his first fish of the afternoon.
A few Gatorades and a few hours later, Jonah finished with 6 or 7 fish. Cam was not far behind. The sun was still high. Golfers were stopping to watch and clap for hook-ups. The boys were rock stars. We called it a day, grabbed a couple red-hots at the clubhouse and hit the road.
Father’s day is this weekend. I honestly had no idea. I’ve got to get out from under this rock…
Now that I’m cognizant of the fact that it’s Dad’s weekend…I’m going to do some fishing.
Saturday will find me and another friend in our kayaks at the south end of Canandaigua Lake and on up into the West River. We’ll be chasing bass and pickerel with fly rods, primarily. Who knows, a few rogue browns and bows might still be lurking around.
Sunday I’ll be taking the kids out to the bass ponds out at my in-law’s place. You’ve heard of shootin’ fish in a barrel…doesn’t get more target rich than this. They never get bored. Neither do the fish.
We’re also heading down to Hendersonville, NC next weekend to visit some family…aunts, uncles, cousins and my grandma. Need to get the kids down there to spend some time with great-grandma Nora while we have some time to get away… and while she’s still with us. I think it’s going to be a difficult reality for my oldest to wrestle with, but she’s blessed with “old-soul” insight– she’s got an uncanny knack for understanding.
Usually there’s a golf outing with my Dad and uncles on trips like this. Probably will be again. But I’m going to take one morning and cast small flies to big trout on the Davidson River. I mean, it’s only a half hour drive from Hendersonville… of course I’m going to escape for a morning. I’ve been in touch with Cameron Mortenson from The Fiberglass Manifesto, whose home territory includes the Davidson, and he’s been generous enough to pass on some river intel. I’m psyched.
So, stay tuned for pics, possibly another video or two. And in case I don’t get a chance to holler again before…
Happy Father’s Day.
Not yet sun-up. 10-speed with fishing pole across the handlebars. Tackle box in backpack. Maybe a snack. Maybe some paper route money.
Before Holiday Harbour bush-hogged lots for custom homes, paved cul-de-sacs & dredged weedbeds & structure from the channel, I’d follow a path on my 10-speed through twisted old cottonwood, hip-to-chest-tall broad-grass, cattails, willows & swampy peat moss & an occasional empty twelve pack of Milwaukee’s Best. Through the cottonwood & willows, I’d step onto the pebbled beach across from Squaw Island. Even after folks moved into the custom homes, I was there & gone before most were up to start their days.
At the pier I’d park my bicycle out front of Seager Marina, walk on the heavy & worn wood dock past the open bay of slung boats under repair above oil-soaked floors, engine parts hanging from hooks on the walls, the bait counter & minnow tanks where dad & I always got a couple dozen sawbellies for trout fishing at the south end of the lake. There is no fishing allowed from their docks today. Too many styrofoam cups empty of worms, candy bar wrappers, tangles of fishing line & plastic bags & soda cans & cigarette butts.
Roseland Bowl was straight down Lakeshore Drive then & Roseland was across from that until it closed & left the bowling alley to face a couple handfuls of blacktopped & chain-linked lake view. It didn’t take long for the park to be dismantled after it closed. The horses from the carousel were sold at auction & now run circles to airy organ music in a mall in Syracuse. The Skyliner was one of the oldest wooden roller coasters left in the country before it came down. The haunted house ride scared the hell out of me. My granddad worked on the midway. He died when my dad was young. I once caught a twenty-three inch lake trout with my bare hand in the cove that the gondola ride had spanned. The empty lot was too damn full of ghosts. I didn’t fish there but a couple times.
There was another world behind the bowling alley. The water was guarded by cattails & tall grass, mosquitoes & mucky shores. It twisted around to circle within itself, like the ox-bows of the Mississippi or the meandering Oswegatchie. Bass were hard caught & fewer here, but giants. Thirty & forty pound carp would roll themselves up in the weeds & suck bugs off the surface.
The old wood bridge that linked the back parking lot of the alley to the old water-park site was still in good enough shape to cross or spot fish from. The small beach below the near side of it, where the ticket shack for the old paddle boat rentals stood, was always good for a couple deep-bellied bass & always with a red devil spoon.
I’d fish through the hottest part of the day, when cicadas rattle in the trees & hoppers leap twenty or thirty feet from your steps. I’d cast & wander & cast & cast & would hear nothing from the civilized world. Nothing from the bowling alley, nothing from the Burger King, nothing from Lakeshore Drive or 5 & 20, nothing from swimming kids at Kershaw park.
Eventually, Roseland Bowl moved behind Wal-Mart. Eventually, Lakeshore Drive was moved five hundred yards to the north. Eventually, expensive summer homes were built.
I was the entire civilized world in a pair of Converse All-Stars, cut-offs & tank top.
I was the entire world before civilization.
I was a fishing pole & ten-speed bicycle.
I was old cottonwood & custom homes.
I was early morning & the smell of oil & boat fuel.
I was carp & hard fought bass & I was horses up for auction.
I was the hottest part of the day & I was Burger King.
I was all seasons & all places.
I was all people & all animals.
I was the I of the world.