Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Summer Time and the Fishin’s Easy

By Spider Rybaak
Easy fishin  below the dam at Caughedenoy.
An old timer I know loves to drift and troll. He’s easy to find because he loves to sing. Unfortunately, he has a terrible voice and it's powerful enough to cut through everything from Oneida Lake’s heavy boat traffic and high winds to the water noisily squirting through the sides of the flood gates at Caughdenoy and the gentle roar of the rapids below.

But a voice terrible enough to force flies off a sun-ripened carp cadaver ain’t his only claim to notoriety. He adds further insult to the natural world by endlessly singing the same refrain over and over…hundreds of times in one fishing trip.

I heard him in Caughdenoy a couple days ago. He was sitting on the bank, drinking a bear, bottom-fishing in the plunge pool below the floodgates and singing: "Summertime... and the fishin's easy."

“How they hittin’?” I ask.

“A rockie and sheepshead,  he replies, and resumes singing.

I start casting a Bass Pro Extreme minnow about 10 feet below him. Fifteen excruciating minutes, and a sheepshead later I inquire: “Is that the only tune you know?”

My question sends him into deep thought, almost trance-like. It was the longest quiet spell I’ve ever experienced in his presence.

Just as I'm getting up to check his pulse, his lips flap to life.
“I’m just singing about what we’re doin’” he replies. “Look at us, we’re just sitting here pot-luck fishing, hoping for a catfish, sheepshead, sunny, sucker, whatever. It’s late summer and the fishin’s, easy."

Several folks around us were taking it easy, too. Some fished the deep, slow water above the dam, others the pool and rapids below.

One guy was standing out in the middle, in the mild rapids just below the pool. Sticking his rod into his hip boots so his hands were free for a beer and a smoke, the rod tip poked out of his head like an antenna, and the cigarettes smoke wafting around him made him look like he was short-circuiting.

The sun was high and the wind was refreshing. And in the long spells between hits, talk and laughter filled the air.

But there were a lot of silent spots, too, where folks just sat, forgetting about life for a little while and watching the river run by.

Bottom-fishing above the dam at Caughedenoy
The rapids below the dam offer easy fishin', too

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