Merwin: Odd Fishing Spots

A bass grows in Brooklyn, to paraphrase an old book title. Or so I hear. I've just packed a little tackle for a weekend trip to New York City. There, in the heart of Brooklyn, is Prospect Park Lake. It's a 43-acre pond that New York biologists say has one of the highest densities of largemouths per acre in the state.

My leaving the country for the city is unusual, but it's a family visit and I'm being a good sport. Sneaking a little fishing in seems to me to be a perfectly legitimate pay-off. And I'm intrigued by the idea of catching fish in an unusual place.

I've fished other odd places. One of Colorado's best tailwaters--the Blue River-- runs through a shopping center in Silverthorne, and there's a nice pool with big fish right behind the 7-11 store. Walkways nearby let you look down on football-shaped rainbows that get fat on Mysis shrimp washing out of the upstream reservoir. Needless to say, these fish are very difficult to fool.

Falling Spring Run in Pennsylvania comes to mind, too, a charming little spring creek that glides past suburban lawns and under a major highway. Early one morning I stepped out of my adjacent motel room after being woken by the passing of big trucks. With just a few steps I was looking at where the creek spilled though a culvert and saw the darting shapes of trout as they spooked into the shadows.

So maybe Brooklyn bass aren't so odd after all. We'll see....