And he said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A VISIT FROM "ST.RIPED BASS", (with my apologies to Clement Moore, and anyone else I may offend)

T'was the week before Christmas, when out on the river
My line wasn't moving, not even a quiver.
The waters were calm; there was a nip in the air.
And our hopes were that stripers would soon be running there.

The boaters were all nestled back in their slips,
While they each had visions of owning bigger ships.
Parke and Mike in their kayaks, and me out in mine,
Were content in our plastic boats, casting a line.

When all of the sudden, my line quickly grew tight
And I firmly set the hook, preparing for a fight.
Away, the line ran, as I put down my paddle,
And rechecked the drag, preparing for battle.

The sun setting red, while the full moon rose low,
Gave the river a lustre of colors aglow.
When what to my wondering eyes should I see,
But a monster rockfish jumping out of the sea.

With my little old jig hooked well in its lip,
That I knew right away I was in for a trip.
More rapid than dolphins, it towed my kayak,
And I whistled and shouted for the guys to stay back.

It pulled to the north, to the south, to the east,
It pulled to the west, this massive scaled beast.
From the mouth of the creek, through the docks on the side,
It gave me a wandering, rapid sleigh ride.

As the last dry leaves, before the mid - winter fall,
With the sun finally set, and the moon -- a full ball.
So up to the surface the fish finally rose,
With a swirl and a splash, and a shake of its nose.

And then as the sprinkling dripped down from my face,
I felt the cold water sprayed all over the place.
As I pulled out my net, and was dipping it down,
The striper just jumped into my lap with a bound.

It had silver quarter-sized scales from its head to its tail,
And but for its eight stripes,  I would have thought it a whale.
Its giant-sized mouth could swallow a melon
And its stomach was full, but with what?  There's no tellin'.

The stub of my cigar, in my teeth was still clamped,
But the splashing had snuffed it, and it was quite damp.
The fish had a broad girth, and such a fat belly,
I was very surprised it was so hungry, still.  Really.

It was chubby and plump, a 40 inch fish -- or more.
And I laughed when I realized it was the trophy I'd wished for.
A flap of its tail, and a shake of its head,
Soon gave me to think of something different, instead.

I spoke not a word as I put down my stringer
And looked at the beast in my lap as it lingered.
And laying my thumb inside its big lip,
While squeezing my fingers around for a better grip,

I lifted it gently, giving one last grateful whistle.
And released it again, where it took off like a missile.
Then I paddled to shore, with the guys at my side,
And yelled, "Happy Christmas, big fish, and thanks for the ride!"

Merry Fishmas!
Never forget the ultimate reason for the season....

Until next time,
Fish on!


*P.S.  There is a lot of wonderful striped bass art available online and elsewhere.  I highly encourage you to look for these artists, and consider purchasing a piece, if you like any of these examples shown in this poem.  Thank you.   

A Special Thank you to Parke for the first piece shown.... which was a piece he made for me a few years ago.    

Merry Christmas.

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