Big Game Fishing


trout


While I was blogging yesterday, I visited Robin’s site at Your Daily Dose, which I thoroughly enjoy regularly. She challenged her followers to recall nonfiction stories of incidents occurring at least twenty years ago, and my mind immediately wandered to an experience I would love to share in this post.

Before relocating to New Hampshire, my wife and I lived in Vermont, a very interesting state indeed. It was there I learned to fly fish for trout, which developed into one of my passions. Fishing to me meant landing an 8 lb. 2 oz. German Brown in the Pecos River in New Mexico, or a rare hybrid Beardsley Trout on Lake Crescent in Washington State. Fishing to me meant wading into the North Platte River in Wyoming and landing 18” Rainbows all day long. Angling for Cutthroats and Brook Trout in the Gallatin River that meanders through beautiful mountain meadows in Montana makes my life worth living.

For all the fishing I have done alone, nothing tops sharing the experience with a good friend, and Tad was one of mine. We hit our share of rivers and streams in Vermont for many years, until he decided to take a job in New Jersey. New Jersey and me? Definitely not perfect together; in fact, it is a match made in a hot place. Nevertheless, Tad invited me down for a weekend of fishing. Vermonters are not conversationalists. Tad told me we would be fishing for pickerel, a species foreign to me. He simply said, “Bony. Can’t eat ‘em. Fun to catch.” I have never associated New Jersey and fish, unless one was wrapped in a vest and delivered to a non-loved acquaintance. But I missed my friend, so I decided to bite, and embarked on the seven hour drive to his new residence.

I expected Tad to live in a small cabin somewhere, but his house was actually quite out of character for him, and I suppose I could say so were his new fishing habits. We prepped our gear for the following morning’s adventure, and pickerel demanded the use of spinning reels, which is not my style. Yet, it was all about friendship, not fishing.

The next day, we left early for a lake at the base of a sand pit, which I found a little strange. We walked down the embankment, set up our equipment, attached our lures, and cast into the not-so-pristine water. There was little action for the first hour, except a few Crappies that proved more annoying than anything else. Then, it struck my line.

At first, I rooted my rear leg into the sand in anticipation of a back-breaking battle. I had some experience muskellunge fishing in Wisconsin, and some muskies are large enough to give you a ride. But this strike came to a quick halt. My rod remained bent, and I could feel a ton of what seemed to be dead weight sinking to the bottom of the lake. Thinking I was snagged, I started to reel in slowly when my prey began to swing sideways across the water. The catch was clearly alive and large, but gave me very little fight. It took but a few minutes to slowly reel in my prize, but a pickerel it was not. The gigantic sewer rat began to walk onto the sandy bank in front of us.

It took me less than a second to cut my line. As I headed up the hill toward my jeep, I could hear my loquacious fishing buddy yell out, “You gonna leave the lure?” My response was quite appropriate for a Vermonter: “Yup.”

Thinking back, God, I love Montana!
 
. . .

Comments

  1. Even though I am from NJ, I loved this story!

    By the way unless the month has an "R" in it, Sewer Rats are not in season in NJ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. joeh: I believe it was September. Did you escape NJ yet? If not, that's why you're a cranky old man! Go West, Young Man. Go West!

      Delete
  2. Yikes! I have to say that I didn't see that ending at all. A giant sewer rat. I am not sure what is the funniest part of this story. Your friend seemed unfazed by it all and would have gone after the reel. That says to me he has caught sewer rat before. I would think that anyone who has known you for longer than an hour would know that just wouldn't fly. However, it did make for a great short story in your Lifetime Chronicles. I loved it:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robin: I can only tell you that he liked squirrel on the grill.

      Delete
  3. Yes, by golly I'd leave the lure too! This sound like quite the time, and a great friendship as well. Life is good isn't it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen: I am an animal lover, with one question. Are rats animals? Yes, life is great!

      Delete
  4. You caught a sewer rat? I would've hated to know what a pickerel was then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alex: I did. I'm not sure what a pickerel looks like, but I know a rat when I see it. I can tell you one thing for sure. I will never again go pickerel fishing, nor will I fish in a sand pit. In fact, my new motto is, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to New Jersey the fish??? that live there."

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. KB: Seeing them on your fishing line is worse than thinking about them!

      Delete
  6. Rats are disgusting! This is a great post.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gina: If I didn't like trout fishing so much, I would have changed my leisure pastime!

      Delete
  7. I didn't see that ending coming either! That might put me off fishing for a while. At least you didn't hook a submerged corpse like in all the crime shows!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Galen: That's true, but I got the same sinking feeling in my stomach. The rat was over a foot long!

      Delete
  8. Oh my gosh! I think I may have left the whole darn fishing pole behind at the sight of that rat!!! It must have been such a huge shock.
    I once caught a one-eyed crab on my line while in the San Juans. It literally walked up onto the sand with my line in its' claw. That was more funny... Your story was atrocious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jasmine: It crossed my mind. I don't know much about them, except they are often rabid.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Other Works by JJ Botta

My books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and numerous Bookstores. Amazon.com AND Barnes and Noble

Mystery

Mystery

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon!