The kids were in school Tuesday morning so I decided to go fishing.
I knew where I was headed. Everybody in Cary knows where the bass are.
You can find big fish in a 4-acre pond just down the road from Cary Jr. High School, north of Crystal Lake Avenue.
Stocked with largemouth bass and bluegills, this spring-fed pond was formed by a dam. Most of the bass are found in the weedy east end, near the footbridge.
It’s an easy half-mile walk from the parking lot to the pond, but I was slightly miffed when I arrived.
People were occupying my fishing spot – three women, not anglers, but artist – the kind of artists with easels and paintbrushes.
Well it’s not really my fishing spot, anyway, I told myself. I’m not renting it, or anything, but it’s the place I like best.
Walking past the artists, I was the perfect gentleman. I fancy myself an artist, sometimes working in charcoal. I nodded and said hello.
For the first time I would fish from the other side of the footbridge, from unfamiliar territory.
It turns out that the women – who wore Vincent van Gogh-style straw hats – were accomplished at their craft. Painting beautiful landscapes, they were using the mirror-like pond as a subject. And they were very friendly. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I didn’t catch any fish Tuesday morning. They probably had more of a right to be there. They accomplished their mission.
No, I didn’t catch any fish, but I saw many. I saw largemouth bass very slowly making their way through the weeds and lily pads, emerging from the murk, looking at the shore with that big-lipped smile they’ve got, ready to swallow fish and frogs.
I wasn’t using live bait. That was my problem. I should have been using night crawlers or minnows.
I didn't catch anything at this pond the week before, when an angler standing next to me caught a half-dozen bass in one hour. I noticed he was using live night crawlers on a weighted line with no bobber.
A purple jelly worm, that had been half-melted and stuck to the inside of my tackle box lid, was what I started out using. I stood on an unfamiliar log that was infested with ants. It was the only place that I could find with the elbowroom for casting and lanes of open water through the lily pads. Early on, one bluegill grabbed the fake worm and then dropped it. That's O.K. because I'm not after the bluegills, I told myself.
Next I switched to a bouncy rubber lure that looked like a sunfish. That didn’t work either. A couple bass swam up, mildly interested. Up close they didn’t like what they were looking. They swam off to the shelter of some lily pads as if they were out for a stroll, having a chat.
So, lastly, I used an articulated white lure that looked like an albino crayfish with red eyes. It had a lot of action when I reeled it in fast. The white lure seemed to generate the most interest, but didn't change any appetites.
“Are there fish here?” One of the artists asked me as I was walking back to the parking lot.