Even before the President of the Ostrich Society hit the gavel on the workbench, the attending members had been busy making final plans for their annual opening day trip to the several places (some never mentioned by name) that have been the site of their traditional rituals. Several groups had formed and the chatter between them all sounded like squirrels sitting on top of fences, teasing a dog by twitching their tails and chattering in various degrees of pitch.
It took several wraps of the ballpeen gavel to quiet the conclave so the president could call the meeting to order. A voice from the back of the garage made the motion to dispense with the usual formalities so the final plans could be made for the upcoming trips. A second was heard and the president struck the workbench again and recognized George Holloway.
George was fishing manager at the local Orvis shop and reminded the membership that Orvis was having a sale on rod and reel combinations and other tackle and he’d be glad to open the store for last minute purchases.
Oleg Johanson asked how much of a deal Orvis was giving. He said it would have to be a big one, to justify spending a thousand dollars on a rod and reel just to catch an eight inch fish.
Laughter broke out as George tried to make a rational argument about the cost of the new rods and reels, but soon realized he wasn’t making any headway as the comments kept coming followed by belly laughs at the mere thought of members of the Ostrich Society spending that kind of money to catch fish.
“Poaching Jack” spoke up with, “You don’t need a rod and reel at all. There are other, cheaper, ways to put fish in a creel.” Again laughter broke out as visions of “Poaching Jack” cranking the handle of his army surplus field phone as wires hung over a bank into the water and stunned fish floated to the surface.
Realizing the implication, “Poaching Jack” injected that they misunderstood. He wasn’t talking about doing anything illegal; he was talking about simply using your head to outwit the fish.
He was fishing the North Branch just south of the bridge in Lovell in front of a cabin on the west side where a Lab and Brittany were romping around. He was working a hole where a fish had been rising to a hatch of Hendricksons without success. He saw the fish, a nice brown, and it was slurping duns from the surface, but he just couldn’t get it to take one of his ties. Just as he was changing flies, the two dogs came splashing over wagging their tails, sniffing his waders expecting to get petted. The owner yelled for the dogs to come and apologized for their interruption of Jack’s fishing. It was too late; the fish had been put down. He moved further down seam and began casting to another fish. After a while he noticed another fisherman standing in the same spot he had been, casting to the same fish when the two dogs came out to greet him, putting the fish down in the process.
What he saw next gave him an idea. When the dogs sloshed through the water, the brown flashed and darted from the hole downstream into a channel that led to a small patch of vegetation and disappeared. Hmmm.
“Poaching Jack” was a tactician if nothing else. So he waded to a spot on the bank where he could observe and watched for a while to see if his plan had a chance of working. After an hour, and several fishermen being greeted by the two dogs with the owner apologizing each time, he decided the dogs were doing what they were supposed to, that being to keep people from fishing in front of the guy’s cabin.
After a while, Jack positioned himself downstream from the hole that held the brown and waited. Soon another fisherman appeared and as he began casting to the brown, the two dogs appeared and entered the water to greet the Piscator causing the brown to dart from the hole and swim into the channel heading toward the vegetation. Standing over the channel, “Poaching Jack” grabbed his landing net from the magnetic holder on the back of his vest and held it straight down blocking the channel. When he felt a thud he picked it up the net and admired the brown.
The membership broke out in laughter as Jack continued. “I was there with my old Pfleuger outfit and the landing net I won in a raffle last year and the whole thing cost me seventy five bucks.”
The preceding was recorded in the Ostrich Society minutes as THE TRUTH, WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH ….Give or take a lie or two.