Fishing on the Chesapeake Bay and Susquehanna isn't always about catching the big one

July 28, 2011

There's one of those half-true quotes floating around the Internet that goes like this: "Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after." 

It's attributed to a quintessential American philosopher, Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau, however, was a good deal more long winded and the Internet version is more of a distillation of a much longer passage.

The sentiment expressed, whether in short form or otherwise, is one that rings true, especially at this time of year and especially in places like the mouth of the Susquehanna River.

Reporter Bryna Zumer, for whom fishing is not a hobby, got a glimpse into the notion that fishing not just about catching fish. She spent an afternoon talking with anglers taking advantage of the Havre de Grace waterfront and put down on paper for The Record's readers what she discovered.

Curiously, though the Susquehanna River and upper Chesapeake Bay offer some of the finest fishing opportunities in the world when it comes to rockfish, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, the folks out plying the sport on this particular day weren't necessarily worried about catching the most or biggest.

Edward Alexander had traveled from Marriottsville in Howard County to fish Havre de Grace — driving practically within casting distance of Liberty and Loch Raven reservoirs to get to Hutchins Park. He arrived to find the fish weren't necessarily all that cooperative.

The bite was on and off, but, perhaps wise to the insights of the sage of Walden Pond, the lack of constant action wasn't a concern. Asked why he was fishing, he responded: "Relaxation. Peace of mind. You forget all the troubles of the day, of the week."

So, yes, those of us who live closer to the Susquehanna than the 60-mile trip from Marriottsville, are fortunate to have world class rockfish angling in our back yards. Then again, maybe we're not as fortunate as someone who drives that distance, even though he knows it isn't necessarily fish he's after.

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