Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I'm on a fishing expedition

And by fishing I mean that I'm fishing for a location, specifically a pond, to go fishing. All of my local haunts have dried up (literally) because of the sprawling, urban sea of vinyl siding that is quickly taking over my once country home town.

Damn developers....and...well, beavers too. They got one of the ponds where I spent much of my youth.

When I was a wee lad, I had plenty of time and locations to fish. My friends and I would wander about looking for new and exciting places to hunt or fish, and when we found something we were interested in, we would ask for permission from the landowner so we didn't get an ass full of rock salt. Sometimes helping out with chores or what-not would be enough for a year or two of angling goodness. Sometimes it was a simple as promising a local farmer the complete extermination of every groundhog within a country mile of his or her property. Twist my arm, right? I don't know any farmers who haven't sold out to the developers nowadays, and making a promise to kill critters on someone's land in this day and age will not make you any friends.

So why ponds?

There is great fishing to be had on several lakes and rivers in the area, but you really need a bass boat for the lakes, and the river requires more than the couple of hours which is all I have. To tell you the truth, I'm a pier-rat at heart because I love the ocean, and the chance of hooking into something huge is almost inevitable, but I don't get around to going to the beach but once every couple of years. Who's got the time? I would love to retire on the ocean somewhere on the east coast just so I can park my ass on a folding chair on the pier and fish for sharks until my skin blisters off. I'm the guy who is walking up onto the pier at 6 am when it opens, frightfully drunk, with a two-day-old Spanish mackerel head on a 5/0 hook, insisting that I'm fishing for croaker. I stay until I'm told to leave by the pier staff, and then I start it all over in the morning.

But I can't do that very often, so I hit the local ponds to satisfy my urge to snag a poor fish with a sharp piece of metal. I have now learned that technology is my friend, and that the average Joe can now access up-to-date satellite imagery to scan miles and miles of land, and then use interactive, geographic boundary programs to find out who owns the property. All from the safety of your home! Now all I have to do is drive around and check out all of the water that I have printed out directions for. Piece of cake!

I don't have the time to carry a canoe or drag a john boat down to the waters edge, but one day I hope to again have the time. For now I will just have to be satisfied cast a line in small ponds while on foot and remind myself that that is how I started!

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