“The Loggy Stretch”
The owner of the party store/gas station in Vanderbilt asked Feral where he had been fishing on the Sturgeon and his answer was “The loggy stretch.” That was a fine example of thinking on your feet since the entire Sturgeon River in that county is log strewn. Another answer that may have worked was “the public water east of here.” The reason I am even thinking about this is I was watching a segment of Michigan Outdoors that featured some bird hunters and the host asked one of the three hunters where on earth they were. I don’t know if they blindfolded the host and camera crew on the way to their bird paradise but the hunter was clearly caught off guard. He mumbled something about not wanting to share that information. I could relate.
Feral and I have been fishing the closer up by Vanderbilt for the last dozen years and we have done our share of exploring in order to find some of the “less traffic” trout water. It helped that Mike and Denny, our most senior trout camp buddies, had a pretty good lay of the land before us so we were able to cull some information I’m sure they regret giving up. Those two have made a science of finding where to fish that includes a GPS, a Suburu Outback, and way too many bags of mixed nuts and cola. They are the Lewis and Clark of our outfit and I sometimes wonder if the exploring isn’t more fun to them than the actual fishing. Feral and I need to talk those two into an exploration of the Upper Peninsula which I understand is undeveloped.
But here is the point of this untimely post: How can you appear to share a secret location without giving away the garage? For some guys like Feral it comes natural but the rest of us need a process. So here we go.
- Keep a straight face.
- Refer to a landmark that may have nothing to do with the location
- Nod your head like you have just given up the garage.
Conversely, if you can think on your feet like Feral, pick an environment generality and act like you’ve answered the question.
Serious fisherman should realize that a little verbal misdirection is only the first line of defense. It is not enough to just tell someone you caught your 24 inch brown “upstream of Burt Lake” (which would cover the entire Sturgeon River even though it sounds like somewhere way downstream of the actual location). While that may work for casual fishermen, it won’t put off people like Feral and Luther.
An incident describing what Luther means by “cull some information” about our fishing spots is instructive. Denny and I said “Let’s go fishing” and left camp. Before going to our latest secret spot, we decided to drive around a while and sight-see. We drove down a two track about four miles off a dirt road until it dead-ended, turned around and started back the way we came. Imagine our surprise when we encountered Feral and Luther a few hundred yards back up the trail, catching them following us in an attempt to locate our fishing spot.
Since then, we always leave camp driving in the opposite direction of where we plan to go, and stop after a half mile to check the undercarriage of the car for tracking devices. (Note the Luther: but do we really start off in the opposite direction? You’ll never know.)
I vaguely recall that incident after you and Denny reported some outlandish story about giant trout stacked up like cordwood in some remote stretch. As usual there were no photos even though Denny is a professional photographer and you too are handy with a camera. Feral and I were only interested in verifying the story out of respect for your integrity as trout fishermen. Fishermen integrity… why does that sound like an oxymoron?