October 9, 2008

Every Fishing Net Tells a Story


If you fish or hunt, you have to have a bit of a resourceful nature. It is, in many ways, one of the hallmarks of the sport.

Now, this doesn't mean you should expect to develop the ability to walk out into the woods on a moment's notice and build yourself a spacious little cabin out of pine boughs and dental floss.

This is, after all, real life.

But the longer you practice these sports, you do acquire the knack for figuring out ways to turn a bunch of lemons into lemonade.

You don't waste anything, and you stash every piece of stray string or the odd screw somewhere because you think it can be useful at some point.

I got a reminder of that on Saturday when I made an unexpected stop on my way to a high school football game. Someone a few blocks away from me had obviously spent the morning cleaning out their garage or storage shed, and I pulled over for a closer look when I saw a fishing net leaning on the side of the pile by the curb.

It wasn't worth salvaging because the fellow who was discarding it already stretched it to its very limit. There was electrical tape around the handle where the plastic had cracked, and the net portion had many broken strands and some obvious repairs.

I had to smile because I, for the longest time, had a net just like it. It was a time when I was too young to afford a new one, so if there was a break in a strand, I filled the gap with a piece of string tied on both ends.

That net, which originally belonged to my grandfather, had to get at least 25 years' worth of use. We used it for everything from fish to turtles and frogs, and it took its share of abuse in the course of a lot of serious use.

The net I saw Saturday probably had a similar history. The owner surely got his money's worth out of that piece of equipment, and I wonder if there was a tinge of regret as he laid it out with the trash.

STOCK REPORT: State biologists have an assessment of the streams and lakes slated to be stocked this week and found favorable conditions. The water is flowing well and water temperatures are in the mid-60s.

The Rockaway River, this week's Hole of the Week, gets stocked today and you can fish the day of stocking.

The Ramapo River, North Jersey's premier spot, and the Wanaque River get stocked Friday and are well worth a visit.

The complete list of fall-stocked waters and the stocking schedule is available by logging on to:

njfishandwildlife.com/flstk.htm. Or you can call the Trout Stocking Hotline at 609-633-6765.

THINGS TO DO: The Pequest Trout Hatchery and Natural Resource Education Center will be hosting "Fly Fishing with Dumb Flies" on Saturday at 10 a.m.

This program is aimed at anglers with some experience. Wildlife Conservation corps members Jim Flatley and Pierre Benoist will discuss topics such as reading a trout stream, a review of dumb fly patterns and how to fish dumb flies.

For more information or to register, call 908-637-4125.

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