Frye: Adventures need not end early
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He was a young man seeking adventure.
He was in his late teens, I'd say. No more than 20 certainly. Just as obviously, he seemed to be fishing on his own — in the way where you plan the outing, gather your equipment, make the drive and set up without dad or grandpa pointing the way — for the first time.
These were not the wilds of the frontier. He was on the bank of a small, shallow, manmade lake, its closest shore about 100 yards from the road. Back in the day when it was privately owned, a never-busy and thus short-lived concessionaire rented paddleboats for $1 an hour to bored kids in summertime. Now in the public realm, the lake hadn't changed much. Riprap had replaced the mud bank in spots, one pavilion had been built and there was a paved walking trail around it. But it remained rather featureless and indistinctive.
But it was opening day of trout season, he was on his own and he was excited.
Not just for the fishing, though clearly he had every confidence in landing a few. This was to be an event.
At one point a couple of hours into the morning, he pulled a one-burner stove out of his daypack and balanced it on a rock nearby. Next out was a frying pan and spatula. From his cooler he pulled a carton of eggs and stick of butter.
He meant to have the romance of a shore lunch cooked over an open flame, even if park rules said his fire had to come from a propane bottle.
Alas, it was not to be.
I remember him trying to crack one egg, then another, on the rim of his frying pan. He looked at the eggs, looked at the carton they came from, then at me.
“Hard boiled,” he said. “I grabbed the eggs my mom hard boiled for Easter by mistake.”
We've all been there, right? No grizzled sage of the outdoors gets to be a wise old veteran without some missteps along the way. They're all part of the adventure.
Did you have yours Saturday?
If not, don't give up. Opening day has come and gone. But opportunities to catch fish and make memories have not.
The experts at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, using their best guess, say much of the trout fishing to be done this spring already will have occurred by this evening. About 20 percent of all the angler trips for trout on stocked streams that will occur this spring will have taken place this first weekend.
They further estimate that about 39 percent of the trout stocked — by the commission, by sportsmen's clubs that raise fish and by sportsmen's clubs that buy them — prior to opening day will have been creeled.
That's a lot, but that means there are many trout still left out there. More will be stocked over top of them between now and late May, too.
So the question is not whether opportunities exist, but whether you yet have an adventure or two inside of you. If so, grab a few hard-boiled eggs and live them.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.
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