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Posted by BConk on Monday, November 19, 2007

This is a draft of an article I wrote that was published in 1998. I found it in my old files and thought I'd share it.


I know the chill of a November morning, standing in the foaming surf, mist rising from the ocean, casting a wooden plug to breaking stripers. I know the heat of an August morning, as my canoe silently glides along the line of lily pads, the air so thick with humidity I can almost see it parting at the bow and closing in on my wake.  I know how a tailwater trout stream can be so cold, even on a hot summer day, that your knee bones ache in your waders while picnickers on the shore sweat in the shade. I know how chilly a wave feels, spilling down the collar of your raincoat when you venture too deep in the surf to get just that much more of a cast.

I know the heft of a 5 pound bronzeback, when you lift him with your thumb in his mouth. I know how your thumb feels when you've done the same thing to 67 schoolie stripers in an afternoon. I know how the south face of a sand dune feels in the sunlight when a cold north wind is blowing. I know how a buck shad feels, swimming at full speed into your chest as you stand in brown melt water almost to the top of your waders.  I know how a carpet of hundreds of tiny black mussels on a boulder feels as you lay on your belly to slide a finger into the gills of a 25 pound striper and hoist it from the foam, a tattered deceiver in its lip. I know how the gravel of a sandbar feels, as you crouch to drift a wooly bugger down the eddies and flows, and under a fallen hemlock.  I know how a big striper pulls the flyline right out of your hands when she strikes. 

I know the smell of the dry sand in the warm sun,  the smell of salt, the smell of oak, the smell of moss, the smell of moving water going over a fall, the smell of the still water of a pond teeming with life, the smell of DEET, the smell of a largemouth bass with a mouthful of pond weeds, the smell of a cigar, the smell of a driftwood fire, the smell of two fingers of Yukon Jack  in an old Dunkin Donuts coffee cup from the back of your truck. I know the smell of autumn leaves, the smell of spring leaves, the smell of your hands after you’ve gently released a brookie, the smell of tons of kelp washed up on the beach by a storm, the smell of the spray that dries to leave crystals of salt stinging on your face, the smell of what a bluefish has disgorged as he lays on the sand, hook in his mouth - still fighting with every ounce of strength. I know the smell of the salt marsh, the smell of the stream, the smell of the beaver pond, the smell of the sea.

I know the laughing of seagulls, the croak of a night heron, the drumming of a grouse in the morning. I know the slap of a beaver's tail, the sound  of surf rattling round stones in the wash. I know the sound of feeding  stripers in the darkness. I know the murmur of water over mossy stones in a shadowed forest. I know the roar of melted snowfall at the rapids. I know the clunking of dark rocks the size of horses, shifting as storm swells pound a jetty. I know the chorus of the voices of the many ribbons of water that make a stream, coursing around rocks and over, where trout lay in wait to ambush a meal. I know the croak of a sea robin, the frantic slapping dance of a fluke in the bottom of a boat, the sound of a fly reel's drag as an albacore makes a dash for open water. I know the splashing sound, like raindrops, of a school of bay anchovies as they leap from the water to escape a marauding bluefish. I know the delighted squealing of seagulls swooping on sand eels stranded on a Cape Cod beach by the bass.  I know the humming of wind through overhead wires, and taut fish line. I know the noise a 9 weight fly line makes in the dark. I know the wonderful buzz a Swedish baitcaster makes when

3 comments on “Untitled”

fisher Says:
Monday, November 19, 2007 @9:06:22 PM

winter thoughts

HoosierGal Says:
Monday, November 19, 2007 @9:43:53 PM

Absolutely beautiful Brian, thank you for taking us there. What a wonderful image.

PruchaLegend Says:
Tuesday, November 20, 2007 @1:08:30 AM


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