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An indication of things to come
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After six and a half years of puttering around great bass fishing grounds like a sophomore too scared to ask the senior he really likes to dance, I made a move to dance with bass.

I had been content with emptying a quarter tank of gas to get to trout grounds in order to fish, but as I mentioned last week fisherman have to be open to all modes if he or she wishes to be considered a serious lover of fishing.

Even if he or she decides one method is more gratifying, conclusions should be based on experience, not stereotypes.

Last Wednesday when the sky went electric and it rained so hard fish could have swum into the clouds if they tried, I was happily casting a swim-bait at whatever was hungry. I ended up with a striper with a nice little gut from eating too many calories for its stocky frame.

However, finding relative success as a novice hindered the contentment that usually came with simply fishing with a fly. In other words, since I have experience fly-fishing, my results should be better than in an area in which I am not experienced, such as bass fishing.

That’s why it bothered me when I didn’t catch a single trout on Saturday. Sometimes it works out that way, but it seems backwards.

Kind of like the option to text money to help Haiti, or click a button to donate part of my tax-refund to fund a political party, but there is nothing to help my teacher friends keep their jobs. Not to say there is anything wrong with helping other countries in their time of need, or to fund politicians, of course. Besides, I’m sure people trust their $1 will get to Haiti more intact than the buck trying to find its way into the classroom, police station or fire department anyway.

Back to Saturday.

The guy fishing the riffle just below us was using a strike indicator and hauling in little fish while I decorated a tree with $2 nymphs. I felt stupid for not having an indicator, which is a piece of yarn, plastic or cork that works like a bobber and helps decipher a hit from the nymph striking a rock or rolling in the riffle. When fishing sub-surface for little trout in relatively rough water, it is difficult to tell the difference. I’ve never fished with one, but if I want to be good, I have to know these things and at least have the option of getting into my day-pack pulling out an indicator to put above my nymph.

But I was ill-prepared, and the ill-prepared fisherman deserves no fish, just as ill-funded education gets no celebrity telethon.

I consulted my fishing experts again, which have become therapists to a degree. Ralph uses indicators when fishing for steelhead, but not for cutthroats and Klinger has mentioned that if you aren’t good enough to tell a strike from a rock, “What business do you have being out there in the first place?”

Well, yeah, but an 8-inch trout is a little lighter on the bite than an 8-pound salmon and I know I have lost out on trout by not using indicators.

I am pretty sure he was kidding, because he is the same guy that thinks I need a $750 rod because it’s an investment in my fishing future. I think he just likes the fact that I keep asking him about the fishing he can do on his way home from work.
It makes the Alaskan winters a little warmer when he can hold something like that over my head.

If anything, last week was an indication (ha-ha) of two things. The first being that I enjoy fishing for bass and will continue to spend afternoons after school walking levees. Second was assurance that fishing will never get boring.

There will always be new fish, methods, or new gear to improve the experience.

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail