Saturday, June 11, 2011

Low breeding and vulgar quality

"It is self-evident that no fish that inhabit foul or sluggish waters can be 'game-fish'. It is impossible from the very circumstances of their surroundings and associations. They may flash with tinsel and tawdry attire; they may strike with the brute force of a blacksmith, or exhibit the dexterity of a prize-fighter, but their low breeding and vulgar quality cannot be mistaken. Their haunts, their very food and manner of eating betray their grossness."

C. Hallock, author of "The Fishing Tourist" (1873)

I mean no offense Brother Hallock, but that's just rubbish. Take, for example, the last carp that I caught. Here's how it happened. My wife and I were planning the birthday party of my 5 year old son. The party was scheduled for 2 pm. At 9 am, my wife sent me to the grocery store to fetch a few last-minute items. As it turns out, the stream runs just past the grocery store parking after picking up my items, I naturally detoured across the parking lot to take a look. There, under a some over-hanging branches (which, I later learned, held mulberries...Oh! What joy!), were three feeding carp. My vittles were frozen, so I could only sigh, avert my gaze, and head home.

But! At 11 am, my wife asks if I wouldn't mind running to the store for just one more forgotten item. "I know you were just there, Honey, but I really need just one more thing," she pleaded. I hemmed and hawed a bit, rolled my eyes appropriately, then sprinted for the car, but not before a quick (but unseen) detour to grab the fly rod.

When I smelled the diesel fumes of the delivery trucks, I knew I was close.

I crept to the edge, peaked over, and there 'twas, the most wonderful of sights: low-bred, vulgar scaly grossness, actively feeding and oblivious to my presence. Who needs crystal clear mountain streams when you have this?

The water was so off-color (though I now refer to this pea soup as "on-color") that I was able to creep to within just a few feet of my target, and it took just two or three casts to get the presentation I wanted. The carp slurped the fly in, I set the hook, and it shot across the stream, leaving a groove in my line-hand that it still evident today, several days later. Once across the stream, the carp nosed up under the opposite bank...and would not move. When finally I managed to loosen my line, I could no longer feel the fish but instead only a branch. Defeated...or so I thought. But when I untangled the branch from my line, I saw that the leader continued upstream, and soon the carp was fighting again. Up to the rubble it came, a quick release followed, the fly rod was stashed, item purchased, and I returned home, my wife none the wiser. I had pulled off a double deception in less than fifteen minutes. If that's not 'game', I don't know what is.


  1. "the most wonderful of sights: low-bred, vulgar scaly grossness, actively feeding and oblivious to my presence" -- POW! Love this...awesome post!

  2. Well stalked and well caught and without the lovely and talented being the wiser. Good thing wimenfolk don't know about the intertubes....wait a minute, Erin knows about the intertubes....

  3. So that's why you were so agreeable to those errands, T.J., you rascal!

  4. And just as the fox's tail is seem slipping from the chicken coop....Oh hell - it's TJ's mommy! He's for the high jump now! This could get really interesting!

    It wasn't him, it was me; English Jonny. Honest! It was Harris's birthday. The streams in CT are just like pea soup.

    Oh hell.

  5. Steve - Oh yes, I know... ;)

  6. wow that water was murky! You got a new follower here

  7. I thought a double deception could only be pulled off by fishing two of lefty's flies in tandem.