Along The Trail 7-2-15

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Editor’s Note: ‘Along the Trail’ is a weekly column written by David Hewitt of Switzerland County; and covers all things dealing with the outdoors, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship.

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I step into the clear, fast water of Bear Creek.

The water, stinging like needles is cold at first, but in a few seconds, my feet and legs acclimate and I wade my way towards a large riffle. One of the few clear water creeks around our parts, it reminds me of a trout stream in some far off mountain that I’d only know from photographs or a magazine article.

I launch my spinning outfit, tipped with a rooster tail spinner toward the rushing water where the Bear dumps into the swift moving Laughery. The larger creek is flowing hard from recent rains, but the sediment has passed and she too is running clear. I watch as my fishing line is pulled into the current and hits the 3 o’clock position as start my retrieve.

The blade of the spinner like a propeller files through the current. The bait bounces off some of the larger rocks and I constantly set the hook, expecting a fish on the other end of the line. I speed up my reeling and reload for another cast.

The spinner bait lands just right of a small eddy – a perfect spot for an ambush.

I crank the bait quickly and then let it flutter and fall behind the boulder breaking the current. I can feel the line spot falling and then a sudden tautness.

A quick flick of the wrist and the fight is on.

The little smallmouth bass fights like a champ and feels double his size in the boiling current of the fast water. A few seconds later and the 9″ fish is hoisted up and admired. His green/bronze sides in bright contrast to his white under belly. I pop the small treble hook from his mouth and slip the little fella back into the water and watch him race into the deeper pool, out of sight.

I check my lure’s knot and tug on it with my teeth, rod tucked under my arm as I ready for another cast. I’m always amazed by the feisty nature and scrappy’ness of smallies, especially when compared to their pond dwelling largemouth bass cousins. A few more casts and the scenario repeats itself. A mixed bag of smallmouth, rock bass and a few other sunfish thrown in for good measure.

Each one caught and released to fight again.

My son and I walk up and down the creek, wading as we go. The churning waters making it all but impossible to hear one another, but an occasional look over each one of our shoulders or a head nod to communicate with the other. I watch my young man, just a couple years ago a kid, work his way up Laughery. Casting and reeling, pulling in a fat white bass and holding it skyward so his “old man” can see what he caught and I acknowledge with a wave.

The sun is dipping low and shadows grow longer signaling an end to the evening and calling us home. Like a Norman Rockwell painting, I watch as the kid makes a few more last casts, the water streaming off his line in the last few rays of sunlight and his lure landing with a ripple in the slack water and I can’t help but smile at the simple memory we made.

As we make our drive home in the fading light, not many words are said, but I think the kid gets it too…

Times like these are meant to be cherished.

- David Hewitt