I was a writer once.

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Winter time for fisherman can be rough especially with weather like this. Good time to read and I'm sitting home so here goes.


Caught big fish, little fish and lots of fish but a winter trip and one fish is still my all time favorite trip.


Back in the late 70's I lived in Philly. Recently married but no kids yet. My work was slow so anyone who wanted could have the week between Christmas and New Years off so I took it. My thoughts turned to fishing and was trying to figure out where I could go to possibly find anything willing to take a hook. It was cold but no ice to fish through so that cut down some options. Don't know why but one spot came to mind that I hadn't fished in about twenty years on a picnic with my family. It was a place called Playwickie Park on the Neshaminy Creek just outside the city. 


First problem was bait but a trip to the back yard and a big pile of dead leaves fixed that. Turned them over and on the ground the leaves were moist and I found enough worms to make it worth the effort. Packed up to light rods and off I went not even sure if I knew how to get there after so many years. A few wrong turns but I eventually did find the park and another problem, There was a heavy chain from post to post blocking the entrance with a closed sign hanging from it. Lucked out again as the post had sagged and right in the middle the chain was on the ground just enough to allow my can to enter. It was cloudy and cold and the park was totally deserted that gave it an eerie since all my memories were of families having picnics and softball games. Drove down the the edge of the creek and got out of the car to dead silence but for the rambling of the creek water as it passed through some small rapids. There was one spot with a large boulder about thirty feet out with deep water behind it and figured this was my best option. Rigged and baited both lines then laid them out at each end of the pool. "There is a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot" Even a finer line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot when it's 30 degrees. I looked for a place to sit down.


This area takes a beating during heavy rain storms and there were two very large trees on each side of me. The floods had dug out a large area leaving lots of exposed roots and one place where the roots were the thickest made a decent place to sit down and lean back. Felt good to be there all alone with lines in the water and so quiet that I didn't even hear the noise of the water any longer. You can think clearly at times like that and even though it was cold there wasn't any other place I could think of where I would rather be and then came the noise. It was a very slight ticking noise from above and I looked up just in time to take a snowflake in the eye. Funny when you are alone like that and you can actually hear the flakes hitting the branches of the two trees. I was wearing a black jacket and sat there motionless just watching this incredible winter picture evolve right before my eyes. In minutes everything was turning white including myself as the snow quickly covered my jacket. This day just kept getting better and it didn't take a fish to do that. Then a new noise.


Came from a short distance behind me and the mind wanders about who or what it could since whatever it was couldn't see me as my head was about two feet below ground level in my root seat. The noise continued and slowly, silently I turned to face this mystery more curious than anything. I raised my head to eye level with the ground and there right in front of me where six deer rooting around in what little grass and nuts they could find. Five does and one buck who just knew he wasn't alone. The does rooted while he kept scanning the area looking but not able to locate me. It was so cool to be that close to them watching the snow fall and and actually hear them munching away as the fed quickly before the snow covered everything. Then the buck found me. He stood straight and stiff as he just stared at me while the does continued eating. then he snorted and the does stood stiff and waited. He stomped his one leg twice and they all turned and slowly ran towards the trre line about a hundred years away across the softball field. I turned and slid back into my seat just thinking about how lucky I had been to make the decision to do this trip.


I was still replaying the whole deer scene in my head when I looked over and saw one of my rods twitching enough to knock the snow off that had covered both rods. I finally stood as the snow fell off my jacket and made it to the rod that was twitching even harder what could only be a fish. Set the hook and the rod bent as me a a two pound sucker duked it out for about thirty seconds until it was landed. Hook in the corner of his mouth that was quickly removed then I stood there holding the fish and looking around enjoying the day to the max. Released the sucker to see him swim right back into the hole and packed my gear to head home. As I pulled out of the park onto the wet road and traffic I took one last look back. Every once in a while as years passed had me thinking about going back but I just couldn't do it. Very few things in life are perfect but that day was and that's why it has remained my favorite fishing trip ever.  

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Thoreau said "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."

Gunner gets it. Nice essay.

Edited by Broadbill
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How about an editor? There are a number of people that want to share their story but have trouble putting it to ink. I bet some here would put out a great surf fishing book on their trials and sucesses and need somone like you.  Enjoyable read, thank you DG.

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