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McFish plentiful but no bite

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POSTED February 12, 2013 10:09 p.m.

If the situation requires, I stop at the travel center in Corning.

There’s a McDonald’s I ignore there, but it caught my attention when I saw an advertisement for the fish McBites. Because the habitual consumption of fast food is a detriment to health, I have not allowed places like McDonald’s to infiltrate my eating habits.

Though, in the interest of full disclosure I have twice gone to McDonald’s this basketball season because game night is not conducive to well-executed dinner plans. So I’ve purchased four McChickens without mayo, but with the end of basketball comes the beginning of making my own meals at home.

That said, I posted a little gibe on Facebook about McNever ordering fast food fish (much to the delight of Alaskan friends) and continued my drive through Redding, past Shasta and to the Upper Sacramento River. I thought about how the two-letter prefix can so effectively identify food.

There are ribs which are messy, boney, expensive and delicious — then there are McRibs. There are breakfast sandwiches, and there’s the McMuffin.

No doubt the “Mc” takes you to a different genre of culinary experience. I’m not lovin’ it, but I can’t deny the power of the marketing — it’s unavoidable.

Anyway, fishing was McSlow. The guides at The Fly Shop had mentioned the trout were pretty tight-lipped of late, but I figured since anglers who knew what they were doing were chasing steelhead on coastal rivers, I’d at least have the river to myself — and I did.

Though the fish weren’t biting, it was McPeaceful, which is at least part of the reason I go fishing in the first place. After a few hours I returned to Redding to close out the day.

The Lower Sacramento does not have that same cathartic tranquility as the Upper, so the results become a bit more important. The bluffs are cool, but who knows who is peering down from behind those dark windows, scrutinizing my cast or hoping I slip and am taken away by the current for doing such an inhumane thing as pulling in a fish by its mouth, taking a picture then letting it go.

There’s also the sheer amount of water which makes it impossible to cover but a fraction from shore and the detritus of society that accumulates at the high-water mark.

In spite of all this, I still really like fishing the Lower. The cloudy water has an almost glacial-runoff hue and the rainbows are big and McFeisty. Just before dark below the Sundial bridge I hooked up with a good fish that jumped twice, ran and broke my leader where it had been frayed by a piece of split shot that came a little lose and slid down the line.

I was more disappointed than McAngry, because casting knots and frays are things you should check for once in a while. Still, I treated myself to southwest spring rolls, salad a twice-baked potato and t-bone steak which was almost as McAwesome as the Notre Dame/Louisville basketball game I watched while eating it.

The next morning I had the hotel’s continental breakfast and was McSkunked again on the river. Had this been 100 years ago and had I been attempting to provide food for my family, I would have failed. We would have McStarved or had to eat grass or something.

Guess that’s why today we have things like McDonald’s … as an absolute last resort.

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