Upper James River Water Trail

"The Mortar Board"

By Jerry White

My fishing license has expired. And, it's been expired for over a month. Furthermore, I haven't been tempting fate by fishing without a license. A few weeks ago, I discovered that some wasps had built a sizeable nest around a scupper hole in one of my kayaks. At least that kayak got to feel some water, since I felt I needed to rinse it off after I blasted the invaders with some pesticide. That was the most excitement those boats had seen in quite a while. Though I've had a lot of time when I could have been fishing recently, the urge to go simply has been absent. It's hard to go play when you're out of work.

WORKIN' MAN BLUES:
The reason that fishing has been one of the last things on my mind lately is a good one though. After another 3 months of unemployment I'm back in the workforce. It's good to be back in the game, working instead of waiting. My new job allows me to do a good deal of local travel, which puts me in proximity to many fishy spots. No time to sneak in a cast during the work day, but I can certainly mark those locations on the GPS in passing. But now that my week is consumed with work, the weekends are consumed with everything else. 48 hours can pass pretty quickly.

THE REMINDER:
There was a time not too long ago when I would have several articles "in process", jotting down notes as ideas came to me. So when it was time to submit another edition all I had to do was pick one, polish it a bit, and submit it. When I received my reminder about this article I went to the article cupboard, but the cupboard was bare.

http://www.paddle_angling_cupboard.com:
Since I haven't been fishing in forever, I started browsing the forums around the world, in search of something new to write about. Is there some gadget that would guarantee that a paddle angler could catch more fish? Is there a new vessel that will enable the paddler to boldly go where no man has gone before? Is there some new locale that has been explored by only paddlers? No, no, and maybe. I say "maybe" to new locales because by now I'd wager that seasoned anglers have learned not to blab about their honey holes on the internet. But the cupboard was bare here as well. Then it hit me.

POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE:
What's "new" is the fact that our sport has graduated college. We have completed our higher learning and are now applying that knowledge whenever we hit the water. We no longer need guidance or new products. We simply go fish, much like we simply go to work.

We endured grammar school, where every day was a huge learning experience. Everyone was curious and hungry to learn about this new sport. We had many new toys to play with. Paddle fishing was considered a passing fad. We made it through high school, where fundamentals blended with fun. The sport was rapidly evolving and numbers were steadily growing. Toys were getting more expensive. At least paddle-only fishing tournaments gave us a chance to have some friendly competition, much like high school football games. Those were some good years. The college years were more serious. At this level, paddle fishing became its own sport. Fishing from kayaks became much different than fishing from boats or from shore, because the techniques and tools had been refined. The tournaments were tougher, because the competitors had something those before them didn't have - experience, possibly wisdom.

FRAMING THE SHEEPSKIN:
So now that we have all this knowledge, experience, and state of the art gear, what do we do? We go to work - I mean, we go fish. After all we've been through over the years, it all now goes back to the beginning. A paddle craft, a paddle, and a fishing rod. Well there is one other thing... a fishing license! Gotta get me one of those...

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING:
As you make your way down your shopping list, keep these 2 places in mind. The Paddling.net Store has a wide variety of gift items for the paddler. You can also find some very unique Ornaments there as well.

GIVE THANKS:
If you're able to read this newsletter, then you're doing better than a lot of folks this time of year. So in the midst of all the madness and mayhem that seem to always surround holidays, take a moment to give "thanks".


See you out on the water!


"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after"
~ Henry David Thoreau

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