OUTDOORS COLUMN: Fishing isn't for the faint of heart

Herald Outdoors Columnist

Herald Outdoors Columnist

Hang gliding, whitewater rafting, rock climbing and the like are called adrenaline sports. I have tried them all (one time each) and wholeheartedly agree. They are well named.

Some people I know thoroughly enjoy such pastimes. They call the experience “living on the edge.” When I tried them, however, the “edge” loomed just a little too close for comfort, motivating me to ever after shun such high adventure and just stick with fishing. I come from a long line of sniveling wimps and am by no means ashamed of that fact.

On the other hand, I often wonder why fishing isn’t considered an adrenaline sport as well. Though some no doubt consider angling too tame, too innocuous, too unexciting to fit the mold, I beg to differ. Au contraire, my friends. Fishing can be a glorious white-knuckle adventure, too.

Now, for those interested in making their piscatorial outings more exciting, there is a forewarning. It is no easy process and is only accomplished through years of diligent practice.

Few can make fishing as exhilarating as I can. Take trout fishing, for instance.

Wading up or down a mountain stream can be peaceful and relaxing to the point of boredom. I mean, where is the challenge? After all, it’s just tippy-toeing through riffling waters casting a near-weightless fly on a sissy little willow-wisp rod, right? Yep. Unless you do it my way. The Kornegay Method can turn the most serene trout outing into a gut-wrenching whitewater adventure.

For example, if you think whitewater canoeing is exciting, try it without a canoe. Trout fishermen practicing the Kornegay Method know all about this. Just one misstep at the top of a 10-foot waterfall and the angler “canoes” for at least two miles over jagged rocks and fallen trees. Each rock he slams into and each tree he helplessly snags upon will contain at least two sunning copperheads. If that doesn’t get your juices flowing, Bubba, better check your pulse.

Okay, you possess none of the mountain man’s yearning? Trout fishing not your thing? No problem. Just shift geography and wade a south Georgia, north Florida, or south Alabama creek for bass and bluegills. You’ll find the slipping, the falling and the subsequent trip downstream to be identical. The only difference is the water is warmer and the copperheads have been replaced by cottonmouths. And, for good measure, a red wasp nest or two has been thrown in for variety.

Intrepid adventurers who put down angling for its lack of excitement have probably never spent a summer’s night fishing on a large southern reservoir. Even if they have, it is clear they have never undertaken such an excursion utilizing the Kornegay Method.

When I go night fishing, my boat does not just placidly bump a stump now and then. It is instead magnetically and magically attracted to every dead tree in the lake lying a few inches below the water’s surface. Fate also deems boat and tree always meet at speeds exceeding 40 miles per hour. Okay, okay. I know 40 mph is too fast at night. We’re making this an adventure, remember? Let’s continue.

On my night-fishing trips, owls and bats do not buzz my head, scare me half to death, and let it go at that. Oh no. They take their terror a step further by knocking my hat into the lake, getting tangled in my beautifully flowing hair and clawing my face to shreds. Nothing like a bat or owl in one’s face to get the old adrenaline pumping, kiddies. Climbing Mount Everest wouldn’t hold a candle to it.

Using the Kornegay Method, a nighttime angler is enthralled and amazed by the summer lightning display on the far horizon. Fifteen minutes later, he realizes he miscalculated the thunderstorm’s distance and finds himself, his stalled outboard and his not-too-jovial fishing partner smack in the middle of Mother Nature’s fireworks. Throw in the hail and the wind for a little added spice.

Now I’m not wasting any time here arguing about the specific levels of adrenaline raised by sports bearing that name versus the amount produced by the glands of good-old-boy fishermen like me. My only comment to that effect is, don’t decry the placid nature of angling until you’ve tried it my way. You might just be surprised.

Oh, by the way, remember that guy who told you red wasps don’t sting at night? He was mistaken.

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bob Kornegay at cletus@windstream.net