Something I Never Want to See on a Fishing Trip Again

Thanks to all the rain and big storms in the Northeast lately, early fall smallmouth opportunities have been limited. Most of my local rivers are swollen messes, but this weekend my buddy Mark and I decided to try a smaller stream we thought might be low and clean enough to fish. Well, it was, but the banks were an utter disaster. Snarled brush piles, garbage in trees, and silt deposits above the normal high water mark were all evidence of just how bad the floods had been. As we walked through the woods to one of my favorite runs well away from homes or roads, I looked down and saw what you see in the photo below. And I nearly passed out.

Now it's hard to tell in the picture, but that's a very small pair of boots. Mark and I were immediately sickened by the thought that we may have just found the body of a child that got washed downstream in the weeks prior. I can honestly say it was one of the worst feelings I ever experienced, and I got my phone out right away, ready to call the police.

Everything from the ankles up was covered in brush, leaves, and mud, and initially we were too freaked out to investigate the horror we assumed was underneath. Finally, Mark crept in closer.

"Dude...it's a scarecrow," he said.

I gave the blood a few minutes to return to my face, then went and caught a couple smallmouths.