The FishWitch Journal -
May 2001 (c) Mary Riley
A DIM VIEW - The best lake trout I ever caught was the one I
couldn't see. I've had to wear glasses since I was ten, and no, I am not going to say how
long ago that was. I was lucky in that for years my prescription didn't change. If my
specs broke, wore out or were lost I had only to go out and replace them. So when I
noticed that my vision was deteriorating even with my glasses on, I went for a checkup and
got the shattering news that I needed bifocals. Worse than that was the realization that
my "looks" were going. Literally.
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|When I got the new glasses, it took a few weeks to
adjust to the reading and distance sections of the lenses. At the same time, I had this
odd middle section where everything blurred somewhat, an area that was suspiciously
similar to the view after a few too many drinks. Time passed and I was finally getting
used to looking at the world in a new way. Until the start of icefishing season. Suddenly
I had to sit in an ice hut and try to see my tip up. I had to try and detect a hit on the
stick through that blasted middle section of my lenses. Or I had to tie on a swivel or
bait my spreader. New lenses or not, I still could not see up close, and would take the
flippin' glasses off in disgust.
So it was that one day I had a major
tangle in my line after missing a fish. I pulled off the glasses to peer at the bird's
nest and in an instant they slipped out of my fingers and shot forward in a perfect arc.
Three hundred dollars straight down the hole.
I watched in horror as they dropped like a falling leaf. Light was flashing off
the gold metal frames as they disappeared into the shadowy green depths. Actually, the
fluttering action was not unlike my favourite Williams spoon..... I had to fish blind for
a week while I waited for new glasses to be made. My fishing buddies had a field day. Bets
were laid as to who was proficient enough in spooning to hook the lost specs off the
bottom. The boys jigged the entire area of the hole where they thought the glasses might
be laying in the silt. They even tried dragging a powerful magnet, to no avail.
In the meantime, they figured out that I wasn't catching as many fish as I had
before. So I think they put two and two together and slacked off their efforts to retrieve
the glasses. Now I learned the true meaning of fishing by feel. I had to sharpen my
reflexes so I would catch the slightest movement of the stick. I had to be more careful
when I had a fish on, because I couldn't see when it was ready to be hauled up. I missed
some good fish and got humbled. But it taught me more about fishing through the ice than
all the talk in the world.
Finally, one beautiful quiet day, I got out my little rod and reel and put on my
lucky Irish spoon. I sat on my little stool and dropped the lure down a 10 inch hole. I
sat there jigging. I couldn't see the shoreline. Hell, I couldn't see my rod tip. But I
could still feel. I felt the hit. I set the hook on pure reflex. I heard the reel scream
in protest as the trout ran deep and peeled out the line. And I felt the fight, really
felt it, because I sure couldn't see him until I had all 14 pounds of him lying beside me
on the ice. That trout wasn't the biggest I caught, but he was by far the best.
Next year, I'll be after another one, a big one with my name on it. I'm hoping
he'll see his way clear to visit my fishing hole. If he happens to be wearing a certain
pair of glasses, he just might at that.