An open letter to the Fishing Gods

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Photo courtesy of John Jahrstorfer

Mark Fiorentino pays a small tribute to the fishing Gods.

Dear Fishing Gods:

It’s me, Mark Fiorentino, your humble and dedicated servant. Hopefully you recognize me and, at least in some small way, distinguish me from the rest of your numerous followers. I’m the guy who:

Always speaks highly of you, regardless of how bad the fishing is; never curses you, even when I lose a big fish right at the boat (remember “Melon” the largemouth bass you blessed with the size, shape and color of a fully grown watermelon—how he launched himself out of the water then dove straight under my kayak?); scolds my buddies when they scoff at catching what they call your “lesser species” (mostly bluegill and pickerel); blissfully spends hundreds of dollars every year on the latest gear and gadgets, with utterly no indication that such gear pleases either you or the fish.

If none of these ring a bell, surely you’ve noticed all the times I’ve endured excessive sun/heat/cold/snow/rain/sleet/wind paying tribute to you. Or the numerous hours I’ve spent in below-freezing temperatures drilling holes in the ice and then feeding fish through them.

Anyway, I’m hoping you can help me with something. I’d like to catch the state record rock bass. You read that right: a rock bass. I’m looking to break a record that currently stands at one pound, three ounces.

I recognize that you are busy with much grander (and, may I point out, less humble) requests relating to things like 10-pound bass, trophy marlin and giant tuna. You’re probably wondering why you should be troubled with someone who is interested in a fish that In-Fisherman magazine accurately described as “While remarkably curious and aggressive in their pursuit of calories, renowned fighters they are not.”

It’s true that, by most fishermen’s standards, their fight is short and unimpressive. But their method of fighting never fails to make me laugh. Once hooked, rock bass go limp and open their considerable mouths to their full width to create as much resistance as possible while you a reeling them through the water. As a result, they are quite frequently smiling at you when they reach the boat.

It’s their way of saying: “It was my pleasure to entertain you today. I hope I wasn’t too much trouble. Please release me unharmed.”

For this reason alone they are worthy of recognition and promotion. And I’m just the guy to do it. Being your dedicated servant, I’m happy to spend hours this summer trying to break a record that has stood for more than 20 years.

I am not so presumptuous as to merely ask that you direct the record fish to the end of my line. I’m just looking for some guidance. Rock bass are abundant, and I’ve caught them at a number of local lakes. But, based on my experience, I think the record is likely to come from one of the following locations: Lake McDonough, Colebrook Reservoir, Hogback Reservoir, East Twin Lake, Congamond Lake or The Secret Hole known only to you and me.

So, the next time I’m fishing at one of these spots, please send me a sign if I’m on the right track. Nothing too dramatic such as a lightning strike. Just something that is unusual enough that it’s easy to recognize—perhaps a relaxing day, with mild weather and no wind.