Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 85th Installment

A fish bone stuck in your craw will kill you! You can’t breathe. Well, maybe you can breathe if it’s in your wind pipe, but if it’s in your food chute, all the food piles up behind it like water behind a beaver dam. Soon you get so choked up with the log jam of food, you can’t breathe and you die. That’s my diagnosis and you’d better believe it.”

Good theory, Dr. Kildare, or should I say Dr. Dumb Ass?” Russ could be rude. “Anyway, we got some fishing in early this summer just as school got out. Don’t you remember when they shut off the wells?”

I remembered that Camas Creek had been nearly empty when we arrived to try our luck soaking worms in the creek, so we’d walked up to the artesian wells to see what was up. The irrigation district had shut the water gates. The wells usually free flow huge amounts of water. The water just comes up out of the earth, but the irrigation district had built a high dirt wall around artesian wells. The large pipeline through the embankment with gates to shut was closed. When the water raises high enough the wells stop flowing; that’s how they can shut them off. When the gates are open, fish can swim through the gates to explore, although there isn’t any food for the fish. Nothing grows in water that cold. As we crossed the catwalk, we could see fish zipping around, trapped on the wrong side.

I’ll get the poles, and we can see how hungry these fish are,” I shouted as I ran for the gear. We wormed our hooks and tossed in. Boom, we had immediate strikes. We yanked out two fish; we quickly impaled more worms on the hooks and caught two more.

See the swarm of fish around our hooks trying to be the first to get caught,” Russ pointed out.

These fish are starving. We should catch them all; they’re going to die anyway,” I reasoned. “Have you got the worms?”

Nope – all out,” Russ was shaking out the can. “I figure we’ve caught about thirty fish.”

But we haven’t caught them all!” My mind racing I was trying to think of what we could find and use for bait. “I’m going to try this piece of weed. It looks a little like a worm; maybe the fish are half blind from hunger.” Sure enough, I caught a fish with the weed. I wrapped another weed to the hook, but it fell off as I tossed the line to the water. “Yowser”, I bellowed, as I jerked up my pole to set the hook. “I just caught a fish with a bare hook. They’ll bite anything in the water!” Russ caught fish on a bare hook also. We fished until it slowed down, and from what we could see, we’d pretty much caught them all.
500 more words tomorrow

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