Is it spring yet? Tangled Lines has jangled nerves

The transition between winter and spring is a tough time for this pescador.

Every time it looks like the planets will align, there’s some weather, like the recent foot or so of snow.

I did take a whack at Housatonic in the no man’s land between the power station in Falls Village and the falls the day after the snowstorm.

In previous years, under similar circumstances, I was able to coax some decent smallies into action on big Wooly Buggers, fished deep and slow. One year I was testing out a new 4 weight switch rod and lo! I caught a pike.

A somewhat languorous and unenthusiastic pike, to be sure. I could see its point of view.

There it was, minding its own business and thinking about maybe eating something to shake off the winter blahs.

Next thing it knows, it’s being hauled out, placed in an entirely inadequate net and goggled at by some idiot.

The only time it showed any spunk was when I gingerly approached it with my fingers, to remove the fly.

It snarled, revealing its extremely impressive teeth. Also the slowly working jaw muscles.

I decided to sacrifice the fly, which, being debarbed, would be easy for the pike to work out of its mouth at some point.

I also took a recent flyer on one of the little blue lines to see if the brookies were awake.

This was an exercise in futility.

Waders and boots are always cumbersome.

But wearing waders and boots, in the woods, with a foot or more of snow concealing the terrain and generally making life difficult, isn’t fishing.

It’s floundering.

And no, the brookies were not awake.

This is also a bad time of year for the wallet.

It’s tax time, of course.

It’s also fishing gear clearance time.

At last count I own 80-something fly rods and 30 or so reels.

I have also acquired numerous packs and vests, in the quest for the perfect system.

Every year I resolve to do something about this. Every year I wind up adding to the collection.

It makes a trip to the Fish Closet just that much more complicated.

Not that’s it confined to the closet. There are rod tubes behind the so-called dining table, and obscuring the book shelf, which is largely devoted to fishing books.

I could try to sell surplus rods on eBay, but experience tells me I will be inundated with low-ball offers and impossible questions, such as:

“Hi! I’m 5’10” and speak five languages if you include gibberish. When was this rod made, and how does it compare to the Acme Rod Company’s similar offering from the Oct. 1928 catalog? Also may I have it for one dollar and will you pick up the shipping?”

I am only exaggerating a little.

So as I wait for fishing to start in earnest, making do with fishing books, fishing videos, fishing conversations and lucid fishing dreams, I must resist the urge to pick up last season’s Greatest Rod Ever at a bargain price.

Although there’s one rod...

No. Get a grip. Look at the Fish Closet. You really think you can cram something else in there?

The rods that don’t fit in the Fish Closet make it difficult to access the fishing books. Photo by Patrick L. Sullivan

There is also the Fish Corner, which is also  home to fine art, yard signs and extension cords. Photo by Patrick L. Sullivan

The rods that don’t fit in the Fish Closet make it difficult to access the fishing books. Photo by Patrick L. Sullivan

Latest News

Thru hikers linked by life on the Appalachian Trail

Riley Moriarty


Of thousands who attempt to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, only one in four make it.

The AT, completed in 1937, runs over roughly 2,200 miles, from Springer Mountain in Georgia’s Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest to Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park of Maine.

Keep ReadingShow less
17th Annual New England Clambake: a community feast for a cause

The clambake returns to SWSA's Satre Hill July 27 to support the Jane Lloyd Fund.


The 17th Annual Traditional New England Clambake, sponsored by NBT Bank and benefiting the Jane Lloyd Fund, is set for Saturday, July 27, transforming the Salisbury Winter Sports Association’s Satre Hill into a cornucopia of mouthwatering food, live music, and community spirit.

The Jane Lloyd Fund, now in its 19th year, is administered by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and helps families battling cancer with day-to-day living expenses. Tanya Tedder, who serves on the fund’s small advisory board, was instrumental in the forming of the organization. After Jane Lloyd passed away in 2005 after an eight-year battle with cancer, the family asked Tedder to help start the foundation. “I was struggling myself with some loss,” said Tedder. “You know, you get in that spot, and you don’t know what to do with yourself. Someone once said to me, ‘Grief is just love with no place to go.’ I was absolutely thrilled to be asked and thrilled to jump into a mission that was so meaningful for the community.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Getting to know our green neighbors

Cover of "The Light Eaters" by Zoe Schlanger.


This installment of The Ungardener was to be about soil health but I will save that topic as I am compelled to tell you about a book I finished exactly three minutes before writing this sentence. It is called “The Light Eaters.” Written by Zoe Schlanger, a journalist by background, the book relays both the cutting edge of plant science and the outdated norms that surround this science. I promise that, in reading this book, you will be fascinated by what scientists are discovering about plants which extends far beyond the notions of plant communication and commerce — the wood wide web — that soaked into our consciousnesses several years ago. You might even find, as I did, some evidence for the empathetic, heart-expanding sentiment one feels in nature.

A staff writer for the Atlantic who left her full-time job to write this book, Schlanger has travelled around the world to bring us stories from scientists and researchers that evidence sophisticated plant behavior. These findings suggest a kind of plant ‘agency’ and perhaps even a consciousness; controversial notions that some in the scientific community have not been willing or able to distill into the prevailing human-centric conceptions of intelligence.

Keep ReadingShow less