Saturday night and a mixed night. On the one hand, a girl who had become quite angry with us (I sensed it was personal reasons) has rediscovered her love for us (I am happy). Business was slow but energy and fun-level in the club was great. I had to get mean in the dressing room and reprimand someone and also try to play damage control on some issues. All in all it was an average night and I was looking forward to seeing my girl, tomorrow being Sunday and all and we had planned on going river rafting on Sunday (my only day off). I was looking forward to spending the night with her, waking up next to her, drinking coffee, and then going to the river. At closing time she called me. She needed a night alone and had some errands to do the next day (no river trip). I had been looking forward to this for the past couple of days and she could hear the disappointment in my voice. She started to give in and tell me that I could come over and spend the night and I affirmed that I didn’t need to, that it was okay (I know about a person’s need for space). I did need my phone charger though, which was at her place. So I dropped off one of my girls (her boyfriend left her tonight and I was letting her crash at my place) I went to see my baby. We kissed, talked, shared stories, and a quick visit turned into an hour. I finally left her to her private time and thoughts (she said she needed to write and read a little) and I got into the trooper. The moon is full, pale and low on the horizon and the sky was a pastel purple-blue. I knew where I would be going.

A few minutes later I was on the highway heading toward some ponds nearby. I called Eliza up and told her that I was going fishing since I had some new lures to try and I wanted her to wish me luck. She did so and told me that she’s never dated an avid fisherman before. Avid? Me? I’ve only been fishing three times in the past week, twice fly fishing and once bass fishing and today would make four. Four trips in eight days…. that is not avid. She should check out my dad sometime. He would have chastised me for not being out on the water before dawn! My first trip was last Saturday when Eliza and me went up the McKenzie River. She sunbathed topless while I waded in the water with my flyrod, trying to remember how to cast a fly. The second time was when I got a wild hair up my butt and took off for the mountains one morning before dawn. Up in the middle fork of the McKenzie I put on my hipboot waders, a coat (it was cold) and I waded out into the river and tossed my fly around. The cold, fresh mountain air, the rays of the rising sun, the green mountains, the noisy babbling river, the crisp smell… it was great! I didn’t catch anything but my cast improved though it still has a long way to go. The third trip was to some local ponds to try for bass. A store I stopped at had only a few bass baits and I opted for a purple worm. This didn’t work out for me and I didn’t catch anything. I found another store that sold more baits and I got some torpedos and a spinner.

I stopped at a gas station and got some decaf coffee, my first cup of decaf EVER and put some french vanilla creamer in it. I inquired with the attendant if he’s heard any stories about bass being caught in the nearby ponds. He said he’d never heard any stories. I told him that if I caught a fish I’d come back and tell him. At the pond I put on my coat as it was cold, grabbed my bass pole, leaving the fly rod tied to the back seat, a backpack with the net, lures, and such in, and began the walk down the small road toward the Willamette River. There are about six small ponds in the area and the one that I was going to was about three hundred yards away. In the east the sun was just beginning to peek over the Coburg Hills which dominates the eastern horizon of the city. Birds were chirping and singing all around. Flowers were blooming, the air was cold (the 40’s?, low 50’s?) and I stopped briefly to watch a blue heron fly gracefully high over head.

Arriving at the pond I was taken aback by the sight. The golden rays of the sun reflected off of the still surface of the pond, the greens of the vegetation surrounding it were luminous, and the pollen from the nearby cottonwood trees covered portions of the pond to make it look as if it were snow. All was still and the only noise was that of an occaisonal bullfrog and the many songbirds around me.

I tied on my new topwater bait, a tiny torpedo and I tossed it into the water, retrieving it with a series of short yanks, churning the surface of the still pond, leaving a trail of bubbles behind. I walked along the edge of the pond, repeating the process. At one point I noted an odd thing. The bait was hit from underneath and into the air. Something had popped it good. Retrieving the bait I cast it again, watching for the strike to occur. Sure enough, the bait was taken and I watched the silver-green shape of the fish weaving through the dark green water. It was a small-mouth bass but was only about 5 or 6 inches, not big enough to keep, let alone try to fillet and fry. Its mouth was so small that it had firmly implanted all three hooks on the treble hook into its mouth. But I got it free and returned it to the water, telling it to eat more bugs and to get bigger.

I continued fishing with the torpedo with no success and I switched to a chartreuse and white small spinner bait. But after over an hour and a half I finally called it quits and headed to the trooper. I met some guys at the parking area and I asked them if they caught anything. They said no and I asked them about the ponds, if there were any sizeable bass in them. They didn’t really know. I have my doubts if they were even fishing at all. The area is a park ( -ish) and has a nude beach area along the river. It is also an area where gay men ride around on bicycles along the dirt trails and cruise for action. On an earlier visit to the ponds I had a couple of different guys scope me out. It adds new meaning to “catching anything yet?” Seeing the fat man ride naked on a bicycle was interesting however. Quite humorous.

So now it is almost 8 and I am sleepy and ready for bed. I’ve finally caught a fish in Oregon, finally caught a bass after 14 years. I don’t care if it was too small to keep… it ended the drought. Good things are to come. I’m going to get a couple hours of sleep and then go wake Eliza up and spend the day with her. I might take her to see “Finding Nemo” which is the coolest movie I’ve seen in a long time!

I bought the fly rod at a pawn shop for $30. The fishing license was $20 and the lures, silicone fly spray, leader straightener, bass lures and such probably run me around $40. This plus gas and I could probably use that $100 for debts I am paying off. But the way I figure it… I have the ability now to get out and go fishing, and fishing is a means of keeping my sanity of having to deal with all the oddities of a strip club for six nights a week. It begins to wear on me and I often lose my center, my balance, my sense of self. Fishing and hiking helps me regain a sense of that balance. Money is very tight, but this $100 is well worth it.

Now if I can just catch some fish… I’ll fry them up and invite Eliza over for a Southern style fish fry.


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