Monday, July 28, 2008

Part 2

So there we were, our fishermen's heads for a time filled with mental snakes, watching our steps, edging along the shore, long dark shadows of bass sliding calmly through the golden light reflecting from the bottom of the pond...

Unfortunately there were many more of the fast bluegills (they too were bigger than they ever manage to get in the Lake-- a couple of pounds or more). When at last Keech chose his first spot and had baited his hook and thrown it into the water, he assigned me the role he'd had in mind all along: he handed me his camera and said you can do the video. Instant Kubrick.

Then as we continued moving around in quest of better spots - where there would be all big bass and no irritating blue gills - Keech carrying pole and bait, I carrying my rucksack, the fishing box, the fishing net, the mosquito coils, the big bucket to hold the catch in and, in my other hand, the camera with which I was creating this taut handheld thriller that has always lain just beyond the reach of Hollywood.

As we moved, me lagging, Keech now and then yelling “Get outta there! Go away!” I in the distance saying “What? What?” Keech answering “Just yelling at the blue gills.” Because every time he dropped the hook into the clear water the bluegills beat the basses to the worm by a mile; it looked like a wily old bass was saying: go ahead, you bluegilled punks, try out that suspicious-looking worm for me, let's see what happens; and now and then of course one of blues would be faster than Keech's reflexes and get hooked, disappear abruptly into that mysterious upperworld and the bass would turn slowly away with a deepening, big-lipped frown, as if to say Yeah, I thought it was a scam...

Meanwhile the other big old basses were just gliding along, swimming slowly back and forth right out there in plain sight, taunting us, because as we soon realized they could see us clearly, we'd worn the wrong clothes too; looming up there in the late afternoon we must have looked to them like Las Vegas at night.

So at one new spot, as it was getting late we figured we should hide as best we could and use the biggest worms first, with a weight to drop the baited hook right down in front of the basses' noses, and while this was being tried I happened to be 20 yards away gathering up the stuff to move to the new spot, when I heard: “Got 'im!” and scrambled over there, stumbling over vines and twigs and rocks, pushing through slapping branches and ignoring mental snakes while filming my whole run and the big catch of a 7-pound largemouth, all in a Wellesian one-cut of streaming footage, but more like a late afternoon Japanese mountain version of The Blair Witch Project. We may get some stills out of it to post here later, but don't hold your breath.

Keech cleaned the bass and sliced it into two thick fillets that he rubbed with salt and lemon thyme, then broiled slowly over the still-hot embers of a logpile fire we'd started in the morning for ash fertilizer on the land where I'm planning to put the new garden...

Eat your heart out, Four Seasons.

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