Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Catching More Ticks than Bass

There isn't any really good troutfishing close to where I live. The closest "blue ribbon" trout streams are a couple hundred miles away. Because of that, I learned to cast a flyrod fishing on a nearby lake for panfish, smallmouth bass and the occasional crappie. It was alot of fun and the fish were sometimes very cooperative. Over the years, the more I fished for trout, the less I even considered driving out to the lake. It could have been laziness, or maybe that snobbishness that flyfishermen sometimes develop...I don't know, or at least I won't admit to either.

A couple of years ago, I did go back to the lake. I wanted to fish from a rocky point area where I had once caught a BIG bass, so I started down a familiar path to it. About halfway there, the trail was blocked by a thick stand of tall bushes. Actually, it wasn't totally blocked. There was a narrow pathway worn through the plants by hikers...or maybe the local animal population. Being a great outdoorsman (NOT), I continued on, pushing my way through the branches and leaves. After I had bushwacked ten feet or so, I noticed 10 or 12 bugs on my shirt. Upon closer inspection, I realized that they were not just ordinary bugs or spiders, they were ticks! I freaked! Suddenly, I found myself back outside of the thicket - I have no recollection of running or jumping or flying out of those tick-infested bushes - but somehow I exited very quickly. Normally, I am a very modest and shy person...not that day. I pulled off half of my clothes and beat them against the nearest rock in a crazed attempt at exterminating the bloodthirsty little parasites.  It's not the first time that I have looked totally insane in public, and I'm sure it won't be the last. I then hoofed it back to my car and sprayed myself head to toe with the toxic DDT-laced bug repellant that I should have applied in the first place. I am sure that many of you who read this will say, "What's the big deal? It's just a few bugs." Well, I have a healthy respect (fear) of ticks. They can infect a person with lyme disease and I have a cousin whose wife has had it for over a decade. She was a very active person and loves the outdoors. In fact, she went mountain biking the day after her wedding. Now, she has good days and bad days. She is often in great pain even though doctors are always pumping her full of antibiotics. They have two great kids and have a pretty nice life...but sometimes I wonder how much they have sacrificed because of that terrible disease.