The Luck of “The Spring” . . .
Harlem Meer Still White. (photo taken 03 13 2014)
I made myself meet the water a few days before this St. Patrick’s Day. I caught and released one fish.
There was a sky full of helicopters, a loose chain of ambulances at emergency, and deep rumbling rolling in from the Northeast. Air, not natural, had burst from the seams and taken down a piece of Manhattan.
My day off: fishing as this was occurring. An awareness of balance, rather than a feel of guilt, charged my exploration of “The Spring” in Winter. Harlem Meer, I would learn later, was a solid white floor surround by the yellow brown fields of March. Lucky Me: I chose first a greener ground of jade where “The Spring” offered water along one of three shorelines, most of the best spread out behind a bankside fence I chose lawfully not to cross.
Hemmed within seventy-five feet of width, fifteen feet of breadth, and a depth measuring less than a rod’s length, I fished a Deer Hair, Peacock Herl, and Thread nymph of my own design. Plenty of cool casting onto the ice opened up to me on a 3.5 Level Line. Thin ice is like an immense, monolithic lily pad. Audible slides along the ice with a tug off to the depths make for a great presentation when successful. What works at an even higher level across the fishing spectrum is the same matched with a larger pattern: next an Olive Deer Hair and Floss Bucktail tied in a manner akin to a Mickey Finn, or with a sparse beard like my Green Guarantee, first described on The Global FlyFisher in 2008.
Tenkara on thin ice. (photo taken 03 13 2014)
Four extended periods of disaster noise sounded in the distance as I began to fish. The rumbles reminded my mind’s ear of the Baghdad air war thunder shown (and heard) on television during both Gulf War I and Gulf War II. The news through the fog of dust and information settled on eight dead, many injured and displaced. A gas leak? Investigation on site has not yet been engaged in full because of debris. There has been that much material mixed with potential survivors, so great care has been taken.
On the top of the hour of one, a better blast sounded on my side. Luck struck. A sudden take a foot below the ice edge began to move. No winter sluggish fish was this; I saw twice in profile a thick bass with a purpose. The silhouette was a rounded female rather than a thin pickle of a male. I feared my tippet might fray as three runs under the ice audibly shaved my line against the blade on the water’s top.
My Ebisu tenkara rod’s entire 5/5 flex was on arch display. I gripped the pine handle as if it were a solid body guitar. Grip locked in, I was able to lead the bass around a fallow pickerel weed garden to shore.
Blurry? Cold, wet hand and big, fast bass! (photo taken 03 13 2014)
I rarely lay fish on any surface for a photo except sometimes wet grass on rainy days. Skies overcast, air still, the fish remained calm and stretched as most largemouth bass will as it endured a bragging shot on packed damp soil beside my laminated ruler and Tenkara USA Ebisu. Best Honest Estimate: 15 inches, 2 plus pounds, female largemouth bass.
Tenkara can (sometimes) tackle big bass. (photo taken 03 13 2014)
The Luck of “The Spring” . . . an ironic reward, when still in winter.
* *** * *** * ***
The depths of damp spring air.
Biifurcated between water and ice,
Bare branches and brick towers.
Central to the whole reality,
Followed the ledge, following,
Something crawling, scraping.
In went it,
Down into the wet water.
Wink, the line squared the circle:
The One and The Other
Spirited by connection.
* *** * *** * ***
My First Fish of 2014
– rPs 03 17 2014
Postscript: Read about the Green Guarantee at The Global FlyFisher by following this link: