The later Douglas Adams once referred to Sunday afternoons as “the long dark tea time of the soul.”
His theory was people had had as many baths that day as was useful, and they would go out of their minds when they realized they had read a paragraph about tree pruning in their local Newspaper for the third time – and that they would never finish that article.
It was not quite that bad for the Stray Caster on the Sunday past – but it was close. The Newspaper had been read, and there was literally nothing left that needed to be done that day. The sun was shining, and he was bored.
Suddenly, the idea of checking out some fishing holes seemed very attractive, given a certain set of circumstance. First, it was too late to go fishing on most trout rivers. The one nearby river that did qualify, the Grand, is closed.
So the Stray Caster decided it might be prudent and possibly even productive to try some of those oddball places he has seen over the years. A small rod, a Rapala or tube jig, and he would be in business.
Mrs. Stray Caster then announced that she, too, was bored, and would be happy to accompany us. A-OK by us.
We set off for a couple of places in the northeast, swamps, really. We have passed them numerous times over the years, and always wondered if there was anything in them.
The Stray Caster has a friend who once made a mental note of a place that he finally got around to fishing over 20 years later. It provided great fishing, too.
We reached the first bog in about 30 minutes.
The Stray Caster quickly tied on a Rapala, and very carefully edged down the bank towards the water, hoping to arrive without falling in. That accomplished, the Rapala was used to thrash the water many times over the next half hour. Mrs. Stray Caster, who, for some unknown reason (planning our wedding, he suspected) did not bother to get a fishing licence this year. She stayed in the car and read, although it must be admitted her curiosity got the better of her and after 30 minutes, she was standing on the bridge, commenting on our casting technique – and the lack of bites.
The first stop was an utter failure. The pool looked like it might have held a bass, or maybe a big old pike. Alas, if it did, they, too, were struggling with a paragraph in the Newspaper – or taking a nap.
So, it was on to the next location – about ten minutes away. It had appeared that the two places were connected, but a swamp is a swamp is a swamp. The second stream was actually running towards the first, while the first had run towards the second. Clearly, something odd was taking place in this wetland or they were two separate streams.
The Stray Caster tried his Rapala in much deeper water this time, with a much larger casting area. The water looked “fishy,” but, for the first half hour, there was nothing.
The Stray Caster wondered if his lure was travelling slow enough, given the cooler weather. Eventually, he tied on a tube jig, dragged it in very slowly, and that was the time things got interesting. First, there was a small hit. Then, there was a small bass, about six inches long. Hmmmmm.
And finally, there was a very long cast to a very fishy looking area. The Stray Caster has a very bad habit of losing patience and making casts so long that he could not set the hook if given 20 seconds. It usually results in a lost fish or a lost lure, or both. This cast went over two sets of weeds growing out of the bog, and then a small island of rocks and brush.
The Stray Caster has no idea just how big the fish was that that took the lure. The fish that hit it simply wrapped the line around a log or rock and snapped it with a certain ease – and disdain for his fishing efforts.
Try as we might, there were no more hits. Maybe there was only one fish.
But it is a sure thing that sometime, probably in the spring, the Stray Caster will be paying another visit to that second spot. To him, break-offs are merely encouragement.
Alas, it was time to return home and start supper.
Tea time was over.