Tuesday, April 7, 2009
This past January at the Charlotte fly fishing show I had the pleasure of meeting Bob Fulton, an avid North Carolina fisherman and outdoor writer, well known around the state by his nom de plum, the River Geezer. Oddly enough, a few days later I was watching North Carolina Outdoorsman, a PBS fishing show, and who should I see fly fishing for mullet (something few know is even possible) but the Geezer himself. As this blog has gotten me interested in outdoors writing, I contacted the Geezer and requested the opportunity to pick his brain about fishing, and writing about fishing.
To my delight Bob graciously invited me to his home water, a delightful little acre-and-a-half pond in his back yard. The weather conspired against us with windy, unseasonably brisk conditions, but we enjoyed casting the pond just the same. As is appropriate, the “home boy” outfished me, landing the lone bass for the day.
Geezer’s pond is an extension of his home and the fish are his pets, though they have to compete for his attentions with a bevy of cats, local deer, and the flocks of wild birds, ducks included, attracted by Geezer’s wide variety of feeders and boxes. It’s an idyllic tract, perfect for the outdoors lover that I have found the Geezer to be. We spoke of many things; fishing (fly, bass, tackle, whatever), bird watching, deer issues, raccoons who think they’re cats, outdoor TV shows, yorkie turds (you’ll have to ask the Geezer about that one), duck mothers, and generally the joy of living so close to nature. I learned a lot, but more importantly just enjoyed the conversation and the company.
Ultimately, to overcome our inability to land fish the “proper” way, the Geezer resorted to trickery. He wanted me to see the pellet bass that he has stocked in the pond so he tossed a scoop full of fish food pellets a few yards off the dock. Frenzy ensued. On a fine, barbless circle hook Geezer threaded his "secret pellet fly", handed me the rod, and challenged me to cast the 20 feet into the pellet hatch. It was a tough task, (my double haul is rusty) but I ultimately managed it. Before too long I had a hard take and wrestled home one of the ponds stocked bass, thirteen, maybe fourteen inches, with beautiful dark markings (and no doubt a surprised look on his face, if one could read bass). It was a stout, healthy, obviously well fed fish and a pretty thing to look at. A few more pellet fly casts yielded a couple of the plumpest bluegill I have ever seen, each with the fight of a healthy bass, even on the 5wt we had in hand. All were promptly released, none the worse for the wear because of the great care the Geezer had taken with his hook selection. They are his pets, after all.
Throughout this, all I could do was laugh as the Geezer baited the hooks, handed me the rod, asked that I simply drop it in the scrum, and watched as I caught the fish. All I could think was that this will be how I treat my grandchildren on their first fishing trips.
Thanks, Grandpa Geezer, for a nice visit and a fine experience. And don't worry, your secret pellet fly will remain a secret. My lips are sealed.