Dave's Place: A Tough Pill to Swallow

Be careful with fishing secrets; yesterday's honey hole might be tomorrow's town news.

Field & Stream Online Editors

I went to one of my secret fishing spots last week and found my buddy Bill's friend Lee there. He looked shocked to see me.

"Oh, ah, hey, Dave," he stammered.

A truly secret spot is hard to come by these days, but this one, tucked back in the middle of nowhere at the end of a maze of logging roads and skidder trails, was a secret if ever there was one. An old family friend brought me there when I was a kid, and I waited until he died before I revealed it to my friend Bill. And now Bill's friend Lee had shown up, sounding guilty.

"Boy," Lee said, "I'm surprised to see you here."

"I'll bet you are, Lee," I said. "How'd you find out about this spot?"

"Bill took me up here just the other day."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. He said it was one of his secret spots and that I shouldn't tell anyone about it. In fact, well, maybe I shouldn't. I don't want to speak out of turn."

"C'mon, Lee," I said. "Spill it."

"Well, he told me not to tell you about it, which seemed funny with you two being such good friends. Anyway, that's why I was so surprised to see you."

"Is that right?" I said. "Well, you don't have to worry, Lee. You can just tell Bill I found it on my own. I think he'll understand."

"You think?"

"Oh yeah," I said. "So, have you told anyone about it?"

"Nope," he said, still looking guilty. "Well, not really. Nobody except my cousin Joey, but he wouldn't come up here unless he was with me."

"Oh, well, then that doesn't really count, does it?"

"That's what I figured," he said.

* * * * *

I chewed on the whole situation while Lee and I fished together. Then, as we were about to leave, I said, "Listen, Lee, I've got a secret spot of my own I'd like to show you. It's way back in the woods north of the Town Line Road. You ever been up there?"

"Nope," he said. "But I'd sure like to go."

"Great. Meet me on the road at eight on Saturday morning and bring your cousin Joey along."

"Okay," he said, but then he was hesitant. "Um, well, I should've mentioned this before, but Joey's little brother Tommy kind of goes wherever Joey does, so ..."

"No problem," I said. "Bring him, too. Just one more thing, Lee, make sure you don't tell Bill about it."

"Oh," Lee said. "I see. Okay. We'll meet you up there."

* * * * *

That night, I called Bill.

"Hey," I said, "You know that spot you showed me up north of the Town Line Road."

"Of course," Bill said. "That's my secret spot."

"Right. What do you say we hit that Saturday morning around eight? I'll meet you on the road."

"Sounds great," he said. "See you there."

* * * * *

When Bill showed up to find me, Lee, cousin Joey, and little Tommy all standing on the side of the road with our fishing rods in hand, he was speechless.

"Hey Bill," Lee said. "Boy, I'm surprised to see you here."

"Not as surprised as Bill is to see you, Lee," I said with a smile. I was prepared to let Bill off the hook by suggesting we all go fish somewhere else, but Bill took his medicine well.

"Fair enough," Bill said. He returned my smile. "I'll lead the way."