|Welcome to my Campfire|
|The Saint John River|
A windy day on the Saint John, seen from my father's backyard
My Buddy Rick, the bass fisherman, on the Nashwaak
Ducks play in the outflow of the municipal wastewater treatment plant pipe at the mouth of the Nashwaak as cormorants watch.
Sometimes the most memorable trips are in your own backyard. The Saint John River is a mile wide where it flows through Fredericton, and on this sunny September day it was calm as a millpond. My buddy Rick had the grand idea to fish for bass, and so we hauled my 16-foot Ogilvie wood and canvas canoe out from under its tarp where it had rested peacefully for most of the summer.
Soon, we were gliding downriver towards the Princess Margaret Bridge, where Rick assured me the bass were lying in shoals under the protecting piers. Rick didn't take long to prove his point, for soon his rod was bent in a big arc as fish after fish went for his hook.
I was tying on my lure and getting ready to cast to the eager fish below when my attention was caught by a large hairy-legged spider scuttling up Rick's back in the bow seat. I grabbed my paddle and flicked it off.
An eagle soars above me by the Fort Nashwaak Motel.
This was too much for me. I began squashing them with my paddle and wiping them off my pants and sleeves in a feverish panic. Rick, ever the complete fisherman, calmly ignored the bugs on his clothing and casually flicked off those that climbed on to his skin. Much to his chagrin, I soon set course for the near shore, which never seemed so far away as it did this day.
We managed to land a couple more bass that afternoon, but my heart was no longer in it. Even after my thorough sweep of our craft, I was forced to watch in utter revulsion as several survivors crept up my buddy's back and headed for his hair. I can only hope I got all those I felt and saw wriggling up my torso. Ever since this day, Rick has his own native Canadian name for me, "Flails with Paddle".
All set for a summer's day paddle at the mouth of the Nashwaak.
If ever there should emerge a Moses of the canoeing world, he will go up on the Mount and inscribe on his law-giving tablet the immortal wisdom: "Sweep your canoe out before you get on the river."
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