The Frustrated Fisherman Pose

Had a chance to get in a couple of hour of brown-lining yesterday and headed up to the Whittier Narrows portion of the San Gabriel River with my fishin’ buddy, Sean. I’ve been feeling a little bit of “river envy” since returning from Ohio last week and thought that some time on moving water might dispel some of that feeling.

Not that I got to fish in Ohio — we were there on family business and it would have been bad form for me to sneak off during the in-laws Golden Anniversary celebration to dabble in the local streams.

Don’t get me wrong. My wife’s family is great and I really like being around them. But I am already slightly behind the eight ball, being the “California Boy” from the land of “Holly-Weird” and while they are very understanding folks, they are categorically non-fishing and can’t fully appreciate why I might derive pleasure from traipsing around the streams and creeks nestled in the bottom lands between corn and soybean fields to catch fish that I have no intention of eating.

Anyway, after a week of driving around western Ohio and observing the multitude of waterways, including the awe-inspiring Ohio River, I was really “jonesing” for some fishing.

So yesterday, Sean and I hit the S.G. Narrows after church and a pleasant lunch of Thai food with our beautiful brides.

When we got to our usual parking area, first thing I noticed was the rhythms of Mariachi music and the smells of BBQ drifting over the river from some festival in nearby Legg Lake park – not in and of themselves unpleasant things to accompany the urban fishing experience.

Unfortunately, the next thing I noticed was the incredible amount of trash strewn along the riverbank and floating in the quiet eddies and pockets between the aquatic weed beds. Now, I’m no Polyanna when it comes to urban fishing – I expect encounters with guys in aluminum foil hats and gang-bangers tagging the undersides of bridges and psychotic Rottweilers and homeless encampments encircled by empty soda can perimeter alarms and half-submerged shopping carts…but this…this was overwhelming.

The worst part about it was that the majority of the trash could be identified as fishing related. There were plastic tubs that had held bait and old packages for hooks and tackle and lures. Wads of tangled monofilament lay on the ground and fast food wrappers were everywhere.

I can regrettably report that, based on observation of the trash seen yesterday, most of the people fishing the Narrows purchase their supplies from one particular sporting goods store and that coffee and double cheeseburgers are their food and drink of choice.

The problem of trash is always present in brownlining. These are urban waters receiving street run-off and debris blown in to them as they pass through heavily populated areas. I get that!

But yesterday was just…sad.

Last week, there was a news story published about huge mats of trash floating out in the middle of both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. One of these mats is roughly the size of Texas –yeah, Texas!

Please consider making a trash bag part of your regular fishing gear if you call yourself an urban fisher.

Oh, and just a reminder: if you ain’t fishin’ with yo’ Mama, you best be pickin’ up after yourself!


Whittier Narrows

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