Straight Up or On The Rocks

Hi, we are the Riverbums, and we are addicts. No, not the kind that meets once a week for therapy. Although, you could argue that our addiction is a form of therapy. I think it goes without saying what we are addicted too. But, it is not so much our addiction we want to talk about, but more the enablers of our addiction. Yes, that is a big word for a Bum, but don’t forget, we have English degrees.
You know what we’re talking about. That little voice in the back of your head that says “Come on, do it. You know you want to take that 1968 red and black firebird out of the garage that Dad says he loves more than you and joy ride around the city. He’s not home, no one is watching. Just do it…” That is the enabler. Yes, my friends, our enablers sit perched atop our casting arms whispering sweet somethings in our ears. Telling us where to cast next, hinting at a hiding lunker, illuminating the possibilities that we otherwise wouldn’t have thought of. They are our motivators that guide us in catching fish. Without our enablers, we would be clean, stripped of our obsession. Cap’n Jack Sparrow, out of rum. How mortifying to be without addiction. Because without it we would be like those people who get lots of things done on the weekend, catch up on sleep, and visit the mall like all the other lemmings. The thought is terrifying.
But, don’t get us wrong (or is it too late for that?), we aren’t saying that all addictions are good. Oh no, even ours can become a problem. Don’t believe us? Well, let’s just say, without going into much detail, that the last time Dad watched Antiques Road show and a painting of a river came up, he pointed to a spot where he thought the bass would be hiding. Addicted! And when AC saw the recent Lawless movie and the river scene came up. She leaned over to her friend and said, “Those stickups are great coverage for a northern.” Addicted! Yes, Kyle, we aware that the last intervention didn’t work. 3rd time’s the charm.
Ok, so we admit we have a problem. But, we can’t help it. Our enablers put us up too it. When we tie on our lures and wade into the water, our enablers are there, surveying the river. Looking for the perfect spots, picking and choosing which cast to use. Side arm, overhand, back hand, figure 8? How much force we must use when casting the lure, monitoring the timing between the release and the stop as our finger lightly grazes the spool waiting to clamp down on the perfect moment.
Which brings us to the theme of this week’s blog…Straight up or on the rocks. Which do you prefer to enable your addiction? Just as Bond is given his choice of shaken or stirred, we must decide between two paths as well. The straight path is a cast in open water, free of obstacles which usually includes a glassy surface most the time between 2 boulders where a deep pool lies. But the rocky path is the path less traveled. Yes, for it requires master skills and the ultimate force control. Use the force you must (sorry, couldn’t help the Yoda reference, but I think that should hold us over until next month). The act of placing a lure beside a boulder, letting it drop to the deep all the while avoiding any stickups or obstacles and then reeling it in is one of pure holiness. Precise timing, adept intuition, and a keen hand are the key elements of “on the rocks” casting.
But, it is the pure enjoyment of watching your line fly across river and your lure land off a boulder and dive into the doused abyss that is even better than the act of hooking the fish. Of course, that’s nice too. However, there have been many a times that a RiverBum has found himself (or herself) stop to watch the other at their “on the rocks” cast and stare in awe. It is like walking down Michigan Avenue on a freezing December night and all you can think about is getting to the train as you trudge through snow and ice ridden sidewalks with your boots. Suddenly, a cute pair of red Gucci shoes catches your eye and you instantly stop to marvel into the window. Although your nose is icicled, your toes paralyzed, and your body shaking, you cannot pull away from the beauty of the scene. That is how it feels my friends to see an “on the rocks” cast. The whip of the rod, the sound of the lure grazing the stone, and the all around 10 point landing into an impossibly difficult area to access where inevitably the largest fish of all time waits for the perfect meal, and then you reel. Go ahead, you can exhale now, the moment has passed.
Lunker #1

No, you’re not seeing things. That is AC sans her lucky green fishing hat, sporting a new bandana as requested by some fans. It’s the latest fashion among all the elite riverbum gals. Upon application, Dad was sure to expel his usual fatherly ridicule as he nicknamed her Hilton for the day. But, the joke was on Dad after AC landed this lunker on her 3rd cast in their favorite river up North. And as fate would have it, her casting streak continued as she outfished dad with some of the biggest bass of the summer. But, don’t worry, she left some little ones for Dad…

Trying to release a smallie smallie before AC took a picture 🙂

Lunker #2
Lunker #3

Finally, we were getting worried…

Lunker #4

AC’s favorite shot of the day…Dad had this one in an amazing fight as the bass swam inbetween boulders, jumped over a log and even tried to hide behind his leg until he netted it!

Lunker #5
Can’t take the girl out of the Riverbum…

Beautiful example of late summer coloring

Lunker #6

Caught in the weeds
Last of the Menominee…

Ok, he might have gotten 2…but that was it for the lunkers

Lunker #7

Proof that the Menominee Mitawin Society still occupy the forest and river

Like we said, the force is strong in us…

Caught in a pool between flats and the banks

Sulking because it’s not as big as the last millionth she caught…

Caught along Bear Alley…an area of the river where black bears are frequently spotted
Off the rocks on the rocks cast…Priceless

Great example of straight up possibility cast…smooth surface and deep pool off the banks.
Couldn’t leave the hat behind as AC ended the weekend with this beauty of a lunker

So, whether your choice of drink is a juice box or a shot of 100% pure tequila, remember to toast to your enablers. Well, at least the good ones. For they know what is best for us and are sure to be there every step (no pun intended) of the addicted way. So, after AC’s insane day of lunkers and Dad’s successful bounty of the most smallie smallies caught in a single day (seriously, he had about 50) we packed up with 80 fish under our wader belts with some major toasting to do.

Until next time, we’ll see ya on the other side of the river…

Cast Away,

AC & Dad

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