Over Memorial Day weekend I went up to the Poconos to catch up with the family, who was taking a mini-vacation. There were about six or seven little kids there, nephews and cousins, between 12 and 2 years old, and there’s not a soft soul among them. It felt like there were at least double that amount of kids. They are all wild and running free, with nary a raised hand to stop them from eating all the cookies and candy they want. Sometimes I think they are, in the parlance of the ’90s, Bebe’s Kids. Oh, and they’re all boys. All of them. Out of the 10 or more (I can’t even keep track anymore) relatives I’ve recently acquired over the past 12 years only one of them is a girl, and that’s Charlie up in Maine. They’re all great and funny in their own ways. One, for instance, is my four-year-old cousin Ryan who reminds me of Pigpen from Peanuts and has sworn since he could walk that he knows kung fu. He’s easily the wildest one and for some reason his parents have let him watch all the Bruce Lee movies, so he’s now adopted that cocky Bruce Lee swagger, thumb-across-the-nose move that was one of his trademarks.
Anyhow, up in the Poconos we needed something for the kids to do, so we took them to the Big Brown Fish Hatchery to hopefully catch some fish. It’s a pay lake, 2 bucks to get in, but I noticed the sign that told us we must keep all fish we catch, then next to that, the price per pound for trout and bass. $8 a pound. This should have been a warning but we forged ahead. Trying to teach the kids how to tie a cinch knot was impossible because all they could see were fish jumping everywhere. I hooked up a little jig head and a fluorescent rubber tail and tossed it in and immediately caught a bass. I handed the rod to my nephew Phoenix and he casted out and immediately caught a bass. My brother hooked up a rod and casted out and immediately caught a bass. My cousins and their kids at the trout pond casted in and immediately caught fish. These fish must be starving, I thought, as every fish we tossed in the bucket was another 8 bucks. This was going to be expensive.
Around fish number seven or eight I took some pliers and crushed all the barbs on the hooks. I kept fishing but pretended to lose them as I was unhooking them in the water. If one of the kids landed one I’d unhook it and push it back into the water with my shoe. My cousin started sneaking fish out of the bucket and back into the water. I took the rubber tail off and just fished the jig head and was still catching fish. I casted out toward the middle and reeled in as fast as I could and I was still catching fish. You couldn’t not catch fish. It was impossible. Within five seconds of the lure hitting the water a fish was on. We made my nephew swap the rod for a fish because he kept catching them, and he spent the rest of the trip becoming a ventriloquist with the fish as his dummy.
Despite our (the adults) best efforts we still left there something like $70 in the hole with a shit ton of fish we had no plans for eating. I saw a couple Polish guys with surf rods carrying what looked like hundreds of dollars of bass and trout, so maybe we got off easy, or maybe those guys had plans for those fish at least. The kids had fun. I was hoping the trip would sap some of their energy but it didn’t happen.
[more pics TK]
In other news, it looks like Robert over at Dream Tackle is liquidating his inventory. Almost everything is 30-50 percent off and there’s a bunch of signs up in Polish that may or may not say “going out of business.” I’ve also heard the same from Greg over at Eden. It’ll be a tough for the locals to find tackle close by if he closes up. Go there and stock up while you can. I picked up a couple metals and some pork rind trailers today. You might be able to get a deal on something big (like a reel or rod) if you speak Polish.
This is a cool video of fishing in Montauk with the locals. It’s a project by Ken Baldwin, a fishing guide and outdoor photographer, and it’s pretty cool. Definitely makes me wish I was doing more fishing.