The fish are starting to spawn, and the weather is cooperating. It is a great time to be beside the pond or stream with hook and line.
I remember many a day visiting the South Toe River near Mount Mitchell and watching the fly fishermen bringing in their creel. There is a poetic form in the casting of the line as the fly is placed in the pools where the eager trout awaits. Peaceful just does not do the scene justice, it is something beyond. The first time I attempted such, I ended up in a huge ball of yellow line, resembling someone who had just been sprayed with several bottles of silly string. Yet, I did not give up, and soon could at least hold my own.
My father-in-law told me of a time when he and a long-time friend who had moved down south, donned the chest waders in pursuit of the trout. They made their way downstream, casting with every step, and were having a wonderful time. They brought in several fish, and each catch was a story in itself. Well, it happened the friend had lived out of state for the previous couple of years (he landed a job as a game warden in Florida) and had forgotten to purchase his fishing license for North Carolina. My father-in-law had worked himself down the river a bit, separating from his friend by several minutes.
As Murphy’s Law would have it, the friend noticed a familiar uniform checking other anglers back up stream from them, so in a quiet panic was thinking of what he could tell the wildlife officer. When the officer approached, he asked “Any luck today?”
The friend answered, “Oh no, I’m not fishing. I’m just holding the rod and fish for my buddy down the stream there. I don’t have a North Carolina fishing license. “
The officer told him about some holes a little further back, and they could try there. About that time, the radio went off and the officer waved and turned back. A sigh came over the friend as the officer was called away before he could approach my father-in-law.
They continued to fish for a short while, and then headed back in before dark. When they arrived at the truck, my father-in-law said “Hey, isn’t that the officer you were talking to earlier downstream?”
Before an answer and explanation could unfold, the officer made his way up to the two companions. “I understand you had a good day out there today,” talking to my father-in-law.
“Who me? My friend here is just trying to share the credit. He’s a much better fisherman than I am. I think he was pulling in three to my one.”
My father-in-law and his friend have not fished together since.
Bill Howard is a Hunter Education and Bowhunter Education Instructor , a Wildlife Representative and BCRS Program Chairman for the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, and an avid outdoorsman. Please forward any pictures or stories you would like shared to firstname.lastname@example.org.