Words and Photo By Jeff Little
I am decidedly not a morning person. Don’t ask me anything important until half past the first drained cup of coffee. But there are exceptions, especially when an exceptional fishing opportunity is involved. Yesterday I was to be at a Holiday Inn in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for a regional district conference for dietitians and kitchen managers of the eldercare company I work for. Attendance was expected to be around sixty employees, and I was scheduled to present an hour-long presentation.
The night before, you might expect that I would be preparing an outline for my presentation, making sure my timing was right for the allotted time. You might expect that I would be busy preparing power point slides and developing visual aides. What I did instead was rig three rods, heft my kayak onto the roof rack and grab a pair of mesh shorts and my river boots.
The conference was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., so I did the math in my head while looking at the stream flow data page. An hour and ten minutes drive time, ten minutes to unload by the Dock Street Dam in Harrisburg… "Yep, I’ve got about 65 minutes to fish tomorrow!” I thought as turned off my computer.
To maximize my fishing time, I chose a location close to the conference. I also used my Torqeedo motor powered kayak. It delivered me to the spot I knew to be productive quickly, cutting a twenty-minute paddle in half. On my third cast to a current seam sweeping wide from one side of a grass bed, my rod loaded up. A 19-inch smallmouth launched into the misty morning air as I listened to the commotion of trains, commuter cars and tractor trailers 50 feet overhead on Interstate 83. Three more chunky smallmouth crushed my subsurface crankbait before my glances at my watch transitioned into a hurried rush to get back to the car. Standing next to my vehicle with a homeless man watching from an overpass across the street, I put Clark Kent’s clothes back on: a pair of khakis, a fresh undershirt and a collared shirt and tie.
I jogged up the stairs and through the sliding glass doors to the hotel’s desk and asked the concierge, “Which way to your conference rooms?” She pointed with a smile. I changed gears asking, “And your restrooms?” I had to wash fish stink off my hands.
My presentation went well. The enjoyable morning carried over to a high energy presentation. Nobody noticed a spot of river mud that had spattered onto my cheek when clamoring up the bank that morning. The conference was scheduled to end at 4 p.m. but by 3:10, things were wrapping up, and I was again doing the math in my head. Yep, it’s time for another quickie!
Jeff Little is a Regional Pro Staff Director for Wilderness Systems Kayaks and produces instructional fishing video for his Tight Line Junkie’s Journal Pivotshare channel.