Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Local Encounters

Gull is one of the best ponds in New England when it comes to trout fishing, according to a veteran trout-catcher named Kent whom we encountered by the shore yesterday, two rods firmly planted, one in a picnic table, the other in a cement block. “Once I caught a three-pounder,” he said proudly. When I asked about the risk of mercury, he shrugged and told us how he had almost died of a heart attack six weeks ago, so mercury? "Pouf! Not a worry." What's more, Kent explained that the pond had been stocked less than a month ago with 500 brook trout and 500 rainbow trout, all swimming around out there, hoping to unhook his bait rather than get caught. With a slow gesture, he indicated they had the whole pond to themselves, moving his hand from north to south, and shrugged again. At that point we noticed two other men, fishing from a small boat. Sven asked what Kent uses for bait. He showed us manufactured treats for fish that looked like yellow marshmallows cut in half. The bait comes in all colors, but apparently trout prefer yellow. That’s all Kent feeds the fish. Now, I have not been totally honest when I said we "encountered" a fisherman. When you have lived here for a dozen years, it’s hard not to run into people you know. Kent hailed me, and I recognized him as someone who used to work with our electrician. It was four by then, and chilly by the pond, so I suggested to Sven that we continue on to Newcomb Hollow Beach where we ran into Wellfleet’s plumbing inspector, out walking his five-month old puppy, Zeus. I know Steve from my town hall days, so we started chatting. He told us a lot of people are hurting in town. No one goes out to eat anymore. Restaurants are having a hard time, something I have noticed from the erratic schedules of which days which restaurant is open. (Recommending places to eat to guests has become a challenge. Wicked Oyster has even been offering a $20 four-course prix fixe for the past two weeks.) Steve volunteered to take a photo of the two of us. Sven asked about Steve’s Greek background, and the two proceeded to discuss Greeks who had lived on the west coast of Turkey, where Steve’s grandfather was born. What a mixture of people make up Wellfleet’s population!