You know fishing is a sport for the masses. You can make it as complex or simple, expensive or cheap, faraway or as close to home as you want. It is for all ages, all peoples and all shapes and sizes of your wallet. There is "big" game fishing, "deep sea" fishing, fly fishing, bait dunking and much, much more.
But for me and my puny financial resources, much of my angling reverts back to what I was doing 50 years ago, when I peddled my bicycle all over Carroll County in search of bass and panfish opts and was short on tackle, but long on fishing fun and satisfaction.
I recently got to enjoy an outing with my longtime friend and angling partner Loren Lustig, of Biglerville, Pa. We fished a small pond near the Mason-Dixon Line for bass, bluegills and channel catfish. It was a mild and overcast morning and the fish were cooperative. On my first cast, my bobber and jig offering went right under and I was fast to a chunky bluegill that cut tight circles and bowed my micro-light spinning stick to a hefty arc. That same scenario was repeated many times over the next few hours, as Loren and I caught a ton of bluegill and red ear sunfish. We did the right thing for that small pond, and harvested a bunch of those chunky panfish for an upcoming fish fry.
Throughout the morning, Loren kept one rod out with a chicken liver for bait. To those who don't know, chicken livers are a prime, blue-collar bait option for catfish in many of our local waterways. They are cheap, aren't hard to catch, and you don't have to worry about whether they are going to die on you or not. A perfect "Huck Finn" bait option when minnows are hard to come by.
Lorens' first run on the liver actually produced the biggest fish of the day - a robust channel cat of about 24 inches and maybe 6 pounds or so. The fish fought grudgingly to the bank where I finally put the squeeze on it. Nice fish, we admired it, took a couple pics, and put the fish back for another day, another outing. Two more runs would produce a miss and another channel cat of about 3.5 pounds. Between bites, Loren sat on a bucket and proceeded to catch one bluegill after another with just the tiniest piece of worm on a No. 10 hook, plain and simple.
While he was catching fish, I kept playing around, trying some of my new jig inventions, just to see if they would catch fish, which they did. Along the way, I managed a very nice 19-inch largemouth bass on 2-pound test line and a few others a bit smaller. The fishing was fun, close to home, didn't break the bank and was almost non-stop throughout the morning. Good company, good fishing, great weather and another memory. Oh to be content with what we have.
I figure that there will be some who will read this and not find much appeal, much interest in doing the Huck Finn style of fishing. But to me, it is something I have done my entire life. Bluegills, bass and bobbers. Throw in some worms and, later, some deep-fried catfish. Does it really get any better than that? You decide.