“Ring the bells…”
“It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
Someone in Canada painted a house and my Grandfather never caught another fish because of it.
Since Grandpa Clay died long ago, over 50 years now I don’t think I’m breaking angler etiquette by giving up his favorite, top secret, “not even your Grandmother knows,” fishing hole.
From “his spot” on the public pier in Buffalo on the Niagara River, this is how you got to his double dog top secret fishing hole: You lined up your right eye with the “R” of the old Firestone spare tire that was still visible a foot or so under water two left foot steps from the rusty cleat with only one side still left.
Once your right eye was aligned with the “R” you took the half smoked cigar out of your mouth and with your left arm and left hand you lined the cigar up with the top of the spray painted capital “A” of the Sam Loves MAry on the breakwall.
Now, you took the fishing pole you made “the kid,” me, carry and you put the butt end of it up to your nose and moved your head just slightly toward the Ted’s hot dog stand until you could smell the hot dogs and with that first whiff, you stopped moving your head and the end of the fishing pole would be pointed at the second small window from the picture window of the blue house in Canada.
You then took the fishing pole off your nose and with Grampa’s arm you stuck it out as far as it would go over the water of the Niagara River and then hit the button on the Zebco reel and when the stuff at the end of the pole fell straight down into the water…that was Grandpa Clay’s really really secret fishing hole.
That’s where we always caught fish in that secret fishing hole.
Until someone in Canada didn’t like blue.
And repainted the house another color which made it look like all the other homes over there with the same picture windows and small windows next to it which made Grandpa confused on exactly where his secret, now to him as well, fishing hole went to.
We never caught another fish together there.
I still have a deep seated problem with Canadians who live in blue homes.
But even at an early age I knew there was a whole ritual of catching fish that involved more than just sticking the butt end of a chewed stogie cigar in peanut butter and throwing it in the water.
“Fishing Donnie is all about the details, the details.”
“Yep” I said as I stood and looked up into the face of an old man who loved me and took me fishing, “yep,” I said again even though I didn’t really know what a “details” was or where Grandpa kept them.
Whenever we came home my father would always ask, “Did you catch any fish, Donnie,” and I would always say, “Yes I did,” to which he would reply, “What did you catch them with Donnie,” and I would always say, “Details Daddy we caught them using details.”
And my father would look at me with the look that somehow conveyed he favored my sisters.
“…that still can ring…”
“Details create the big picture.”
Sanford I. Weill
“db, you okay man.”
“Huh, oh yeah, flashback man sorry…”
“To the 1960s…”
“Dude, lighten up on the 60s…but um, no…the 50s…1956 or 57 actually.”
Across from me is my buddy, Elite angler, Matt Herren and he is giving me the look that conveys he favors other reporters.