Sunday Classic / The Secret Spot

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Finally There Photo by Louis Cahill

Dirty little secrets. We all have them. Well, maybe they’re not so dirty, and if they are, I guess we have ourselves to blame. But everyone who ever owned a fishing rod has one. The spot that we think of as ours. It’s human nature I suppose, to want to own something, especially a place. I’ve heard that Native American cultures did not believe in the idea of people owning the land. I guess it’s clear how that played out. As for the rest of us, the ones with the fishing rods, we hold that idea firmly to our chests. The idea that we have a secret spot. A place that that we, through our skill, wisdom, charm and good looks, what-have-you, have found and laid claim to. A place so good that we dare not tell a soul about it.

Generally there is some impediment involved. Our place is hidden, hard to reach, you have to know that turn or trail or pull off. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a secret, right? Everyone would know about it. We get satisfaction from knowing something others don’t. We judge ourselves as somehow better than the masses for having and keeping our little secret. We go there and enjoy the great fishing and the solitude, and for a time we enjoy the illusion that we are alone. That we have been magically transported back to those “good old days” before every tree had been cut and every pool had a trail to it. We enjoy the idea that we are casting to fish who have never seen a fly, until the inevitable happens. Until we find that beer can or bright blue worm container, the ones my buddy Dan calls Indian pottery. Then we wake up for a spell, to the realization that there are no secret spots, no good old days. We rant a bit about how the whole thing has gone to hell. We blame the bait fisherman and talk about giving up. Eventually we move on to the business of finding the next secret spot.

Eventually we will find it. It will be farther in, longer to walk, harder to find and we will be that much more clever for having found it. It will be the good old days again. Then we will do what we do with all secrets. The thing that makes a secret worth having, the whole point of all that work. We will tell somebody. We will take our friends there and show off what a great secret we have and eventually Columbus will land, with his beer cans and worm containers and the whole thing starts over. I’ve seen huge fights over it. Cell phone rants, hurt feelings, the end of friendships, over a careless word in a bar or a fly shop or on an internet forum. I watched guys go through real loss, real grief over a pool or a bend or a flat that they thought was theirs.

October thirty-first, 2011, the world population reached seven billion. I can’t verify this, but I believe that when that seven billionth baby was born, someone gave him a fishing pole and, as soon as he can walk, he’ll be out there looking for your spot. It’s the way the world works and I should know, I’ve been that guy. I don’t leave beer cans and worm containers around but I have driven for three days to end up thirty miles up a dirt road, two thousand miles from home and hiked in to a mountain lake to hear, “how the hell do you know about this place”. I guess there really aren’t any secrets any more. Maybe those Native Americans were on to something.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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11 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / The Secret Spot

  1. The “secret spot” has definitely gone the way of the dinosaur. It’s bound to happen, like you said Louis, but it’s good while it lasts. I grew up fly fishing a local stream, and considered some places “my secret spot”. Over the years it has become more and more evident that it is far from mine. I can remember when I was 14, fishing this stream all weekend and only running into a few people on the road. Now every campsite is full, there is litter everywhere, and people are trying to tube down this creek! Not a river….. a creek! It’s sad in a way, but it has also forced me to search for other water to fish. I have to say that I’ve found some damn good water in the process. It might just make my updated “secret spot” list. At least until the bubbas find it anyways. Great post on something I’m sure almost all of us have experienced, or will experience.

  2. Great piece, Louis, and so true. I have this spot… uh… wait. No I don’t. Ummm, you see…

    Louis, I have no @#$%ing idea what you’re talking about.

    But the picture’s purdy.

  3. You know you’ve got it really bad for trout fishing when you are singing over and over in your head “How Can I Get You Alone?” and it has nothing to do with the other sex. It’s your favorite piece of water.

  4. I don’t even tell my son my best secret spot since I think he might pass it on to his fishing buddies. Sometimes water is thicker than blood.

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