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How a Man, Armed only with a Bamboo Pole and a Baggie of a Mysterious Ball of Bait, Caught his Limit of Trout before my Buddy and Me Realized what Happened.
When I was in high school, my best friend and I went to Silverwood Lake out here in Southern California. Trout season was in full swing and we got to the lake at sunrise filled with expectations of filling our stringer full of trout – heck we even planned a BBQ for later in the day for our newly catched trout.
On the bank was an elderly man holding a bamboo pole. A little bit away was a cork bobber gently floating on the calm surface of the water. We kinda snickered and joked among ourselves because of the low tech equipment he was using. We had our shiny, modern day equipment. (gleaming fiberglass rods and brushed steel reels)
He didn’t even have a tackle box. Ours was stocked with the latest bait of the year and an array of hooks, weights, etc….From what we could see, the elderly man only had a baggie near his feet. Inside the baggie was a claylike ball.
While we were breaking out our gear, the man caught a rainbow. Cool, we thought that if he could catch a trout with a stick, we would have our limit within the hour.
The hour passed. The man had caught his limit. In the same period, my friend caught one trout. I got several strikes but nothing to show for it.
The man picked up his baggie and stringer and walked toward us. I knew he was headed home to cook up his catches.
Well, we had to know his secret. He smiled and made a gesture as if to welcome a conversation. Before we even talked about fishing, he told us his name was Bernie. He was from Germany. When he was a kid, he used to play in the old tanks left over from WWII. As kids, they would look for cigarettes and chocolate for resale. They were resourceful. No choice. It was hard living back then.
But they had fun. Fishing was their passion. They were no such thing as off the shelf baits. Through the years, Bernie developed several different formulas…