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Chasing square tails

Notes from the North Woods

John Roggee of Pawling NY shows off a nice fall brook trout.

John Roggee of Pawling NY shows off a nice fall brook trout. Photo by Joe Hackett.

Over the years we’ve fished together on ponds both large and small. We’ve hiked to, biked over, paddled down, flown-in and rafted through some very interesting and productive waters. Fortunately, we’ve also managed to catch some really nice fish.

Yet, despite the productiveness of them all, there remains just one pond in particular that has managed to cast a spell over us both.

We’d been to the altar before, and we just had to return to show our respect.

When we last fished the pond, back in May of this year, I managed to land a fine, fat specimen of a speckle, with just my bare hand. Of course, I was responsible for forgetting the net.

Other anglers who witnessed our nonsense on the pond that day, were quick to offer a net when John later hooked up with another bruiser.

Three boatloads of spectators assembled to cheer him on, as the fish repeatedly stripped out his line in a series of deep dives and startling runs.

Finally, he managed to bring the big brookie to the side of the boat, and it appeared to be spent.

I urged him to bring it my way, so I could scoop it up; but he would have nothing to do with it.

“You landed yours, now let me do it myself,” he scolded.

“Get your hand under it,” I had coached him then, “And try to flop it in the boat.”

John did as he was told, and soon the big brookie was atop a pack in the middle of our canoe, and his line went limp.

He fumbled with the the rod, as he lurched toward the trout. But it came to life, and with one powerful flap of its wide square tail, the trout launched into the air and into the water.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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