Monday, May 14, 2012

On the pond

There's that bright green stuff in the background.
We now return to regularly scheduled programming.

I found Spring last week.

I was sitting out on the deck after a particularly trying workday. I had a large glass of Cabernet nearby, an Arturo Fuente smoldered in hand and I was trying to push aside the frustrations via Gierach therapy, or maybe it was McGuane.

When I looked around I noticed that sometime during the day most of the trees had leafed out. There had been hints of leaves for about a week. Buds swelled, green tips built up hope but then, all of a sudden, I was surrounded by a the fresh greenness that can only be found in a new leaf during its first few days.

But then I lost it.

I drove up to New Hampshire that Friday evening to join my Brother, Dad and Uncle for some light home improvements.and to bond as men do. Up in New Hampshire spring is still all promise. During Sunday's paddle the only green was on the large hemlocks where ospreys perch.

I suppose that spring is wandering north somewhere between Hartford and Keene and while I don't recall seeing her on the drive home, no doubt she's got her thumb out somewhere along the I-91.

The source of all those gnats is discovered.
Shucks litter the pond surface in early morning.
I fished a bit on Sunday morning. I went out early in the new-to-me kayak and fished over in the trough that runs behind the big island. The boys call it Blueberry Island on account of bazillion blue morsels you'll find on it come July but I've always known it as the big island.

I've learned  most of what I know about angling from old guys and that's how I learned the pond. A dozen years ago Bob, an elderly neighbor, took me on a tour of the pond and shared some of the secrets he had plumbed from its depths in a lifetime of angling.

There's the deep spot where fish hold during the warm days of summer; best fished with weight and a worm suspended about fifty-nine feet down in a sixty foot deep hole. There are the two spots where the state stocking trucks back in about a week before the season starts; easy dry fly water if you catch it right. And there's the trough behind Blueberry Island; a transitional space that holds whatever the season brings you. When the water is cold you can catch trout around the drop-offs and when the waters warm you'll find dinky bass.

Bob died a few years back of Leukemia. It ate him up over the course of a year though he fought like hell. I can't think of a crappier way to go though there are likely a few I don't know about. Ann and I both agree that it's far preferable to go quietly in our sleep or to instantly vaporize while walking with the dog.

The pond is small fish water. It's too acidic to have good bug life or to provide good spawning so you never find large fish here. The biggest will come off the back of a stocking truck. The largest Smallmouth I've caught was about twelve inches long; its measurement in inches versus pounds a clear giveaway.

I'm all for renewables, just not in my back yard.

I spent most of my brief time on the water paddling about and, once the wind got up, more than a bit just drifting in the wind. When the wind is up on the mountain the pond's water gets kicking in a manner and that gentle rocking coupled with the drift on a wind's whim is restful. But there was fishing to be had and a small Mepps spinner was already tied on my rod.

I worked my way into the slot behind the island casting and reeling. I tried the anchor rig I had installed and it worked well. I spun around its axis as the winds shifted but that just gave me new water to cast to. Once I had gotten into the shallows I started to get a few strikes and eventually a nice freshly stocked Brookie came to hand. He was chased by some friends as I reeled him in so that was my good clue that the stocking truck had recently visited the pond.

I cast about a bit more and went through the standard arsenal of spinners and crank bait but after that first Brookie, no more made themselves known. I paddled the shaded eastern shore chasing an Osprey from one hemlock to the next. He seemed to want to stay about two trees ahead of me; I guess large birds don't get large by being fools.

A flotilla of small motor boats soon began puttering around the pond. This was a second sign that the stocking trucks had been here recently. They mostly congregated around the deep spot near the house though my catch clearly indicated that some of the fish were schooled up in shallower water. But with 3,000 fish in a 100 acre pond there were bound to be trout everywhere.

I'm looking forward to more time on the water in the kayak and a week or two this summer up on the pond. The house is small and not as comfortable as home. The pond fishes poorly. But time away is restorative and disconnecting with the family will be restorative in a manner to which I'd like to become accustomed.

The early morning is usually windless though it picks up soon enough. Paddle blades disturb the water. Ripples
extend to the farthest shore.

They should call the trout stocking program "Loon Welfare"


  1. Vaporized walking the dog...not a bad way to go.

    I blinked and missed spring's arrival this year, funny how that happens. It's just too bad I didn't miss runoff.

    Looks like a good way to get back to the regular scheduled programming.


    1. Yeah, that was Ann's idea. It would be a great way to go.

      Looking forward to fishing in the Rockies this summer. Hopefully the run-off will be well gone by July.

  2. For some reason, I'm incapable of missing spring's arrival, though that's likely because I'm getting old and the winters now feel nine months long.

    Still, I must disagree with the vivid image of spring hitchhiking.

    Spring's popular enough that she's got her own reality TV show and social media staff; she'd have her own luxury RV instead of bushwhacking it like some kind of common mountain hippie.

    1. No, you're talking about her twin, Fall. It's a common mistake as they're both transitional. Fall is the glamorous one. Spring is a wallflower who is barely noticed before her frat-boy brother, Summer, roars in and steals the limelight.

  3. I think Yaking around that pond would suffice whether you caught fish or not. Reminds me of some of the scenery in Northern Wisconsin.


    1. It would have. Icing on the cake that Brookie was.

  4. "I suppose that spring is wandering north somewhere between Hartford and Keene and while I don't recall seeing her on the drive home, no doubt she's got her thumb out somewhere along the I-91." Good shit, that.

    And: aren't anchors just a boon?

    I thought you were at prayer in the first shot. The iPad confirmed my eyes.

  5. Thx, EJ

    Yeah, the anchor worked out wonderfully. At first I thought it was an extravagance but it proved its worth.

    Sometimes a little prayer is helpful.