I sat and watched the pond one sunny day and thought I noticed some kind of surface action, like a fish or frog jumping. I walked back to my house and got my fishing pole and a select bag of bass lures, and hurried back over to my secret little pond. The first fishable clearing was about halfway across the pond so I set out in that direction. I quickly found out that a deer trail is not a man trail.
The path started out marshy and quickly turned muddy – I mean the kind of deep mud that sucks your shoes right off your feet. I did almost lose my shoes so I took them off, left them on the path, and continued barefoot. Then came the thorns; they were everywhere along the path and by the time I got through them I was bleeding from a dozen different places, but still undaunted I pushed forward.
The next thing I encountered were bees – thousands of them – a nest hung from the biggest oak tree in the area. Luckily the bees were all very busy with the swamp blossoms, but I crept warily by the nest just the same. My exertions did not go unnoticed however, as I was soon covered by a swarm of mosquitoes. One can only slap so many so I gave up trying and let them feast.
I finally made it to my selected area a little muddy, bloody, and bruised but still intact. I tied on my favorite bass lure, a
5-inch Rapala (a Swedish hand-carved balsa wood fish with many hooks). These lures are kind of expensive so you can understand how frustrated I was after trudging all that way, only to have my first cast land on the beaver dam ten feet in front of me. I gently tried to ease it off the dam but of course one of the many hooks snagged a stick just above the waterline. I made many new curse words as I tried yanking the lure off the stick, but it wouldn’t budge. I then waded in a few feet with a long stick and tried to knock it free, again with no luck. I was going to be damned if I was going to lose my favorite and most expensive lure, so I did the only thing I could think of and threw a log at it . . . it worked!
The lure now floated freely alongside the beaver dam and as I reeled it in something grabbed it with a giant splash about five feet from shore. There was a brief, fierce battle but I landed it – a beautiful five-pound brook trout! The biggest brook trout I had ever seen, and this after screaming curses, beating the water with a stick, and throwing logs at the beaver dam. So much for spooking the fish! At that point there was very little I even noticed as I rushed home with my catch – not the mosquitoes, not the bees, not the thorns, or even the mud, although I probably should have grabbed my shoes.
~ Michael Romano, a Great Barrington, MA, resident for almost 40 years, is an avid fisherman who in his own words “kind of treats fishing as a contact sport and has had more than a few misadventures in the process.” He has fished many local waters and also enjoyed quite a few saltwater trips. Michael is a retired chef – he and his wife Susan worked at the now closed Kolburne School in New Marlborough, MA, for many years where he enjoyed taking many of the students fishing.
Read this article in the Oct-Nov 2016 issue of Our BerkshireTimes Magazine.