What’s wrong with this picture? Regardless of which politician ought to go to jail or be recalled, the fact is that we’ll never see gas under $2 per gallon again. If we’re going to go fishing, folks, we’re going to have to learn to fish closer to home.
Fortunately, all is not lost. There is good fishing close to home. All you have to do is get creative in looking for it.
Growing up in a small valley town in California had its advantages. There was fishing to be had within biking distance of town. Nearby rivers and farm ponds held a plethora of fish, if only we weren’t so snooty about what we fished for.
Naturally, I’d rather be fishing for trout in the high Sierra, but that now takes $100 worth of fuel. The good news is that there is a great stream full of bass, bluegill and crappie about a five-minute walk from my front door. Chances are there is pretty good fishing less than a half-hour drive from you, too. We just have to learn to adjust.
Now, instead of casting to brook trout at 7,000 feet, I cast to bass at 50 feet above sea level. Instead of lodgepole pine and red cedar to snag my backcast, I now get caught in cottonwoods and oaks. Still, standing waist-deep in a valley river casting to fish is better than watching reruns on TV. Instead of a Royal Coachman lure, use a deer-hair frog. A leaping smallmouth will give you just as much thrill as a feisty rainbow.
Since I release almost all my fish these days, I don’t have to worry about the fuss of cleaning them. Besides, when I release them, I can always come back and catch the little rascals next week.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to roast fresh-caught brookies on a stick over a streamside fire, and crappies on the barbecue basted in garlic butter is probably the finest meal this side of Heaven. Wash them down with a tin cup full of creek water or a flute of champagne, depending on your taste.
Regardless of where you reside, if you do a little research, there’s probably pretty good fishing less than a $10 dollar drive from your home. I’m not going to tell you my secret backyard fishing hole, but if you examine a good map or aerial photo of your area, you should be able to find your own secret fishing hole right in your backyard. Give it a try.
Instead of spending a hundred bucks on gas and driving three hours each way, you can be in the water fishing within 30 minutes and spend less than $10 bucks on gas. Let’s review: more time fishing and less money out of pocket. What’s not to like?
Until next time, tight lines.
• Don Moyer, author and outdoors columnist for the Tracy Press, began writing Tight Lines more than three decades ago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.