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The Sportsman's Corner

Night Riders


August 22, 2019

When I was a lot younger, I was a moderately enthusiastic night fisherman. I liked to arrive at a familiar section of stream at the edge of dark; and when the first star appeared, I made my first cast.

For me, this was fishing with larger-than-average wet flies. My favorite was a size 8 Governor, a fly I had discovered in the late James Bashline's book "Night Fishing for Trout." Bashline and his friends caught loads of big trout using this fly and other large wet flies. Locally, "Pike" DiBartolome made nice catches of trout at night, and he was the one who told me that I ought to give night-fishing a try. He even shared a couple of his favorite hotspots. DiBartolome and restaurateur Louis Sottile favored live crickets for their after-dark adventures.

For me, night-fishing success was inconsistent; and though I, too, made some nice catches of trout and landed some larger-than-average fish, my success rate did not compare favorably to the success I enjoyed during diurnal outings.

My enthusiasm for night-fishing waned after a couple of unpleasant affairs with night riders.

When night-fishing, I often saw vehicles driving past where I was fishing. I paid little attention to them.

One night after a lackluster night-fishing adventure, I headed back to my parked truck. I had to climb a little bank to get to the truck. When I reached the top of the bank, I saw another truck parked fewer than 10 yards from mine. In the darkness I made out a couple of forms, and from their conversation I could tell they weren't drinking water. I tried to play it cool; and as I passed by, I asked if they had an extra bottle. One merely grunted, but the other said something about a gun. Needless to say, I kept moving and didn't even remove my hip boots before jumping into my truck.

I ran into a similar circumstance a few years later. This time I was in my truck after fishing and was driving out of an obscure area when I noticed a good many vehicles parked ahead of me. I also saw 25 or more people surrounding a keg, some in the middle of the back road, in my way. Fortunately, they eased off the road as I passed by. I don't know what I would have done if they had blocked my path and challenged me. I did not then carry a pistol.

I have not night-fished much since encountering those "night riders" a number of years ago.


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