On the first day of third grade, around the time I first wetted a line, there was a message scribbled on the chalkboard when I walked into Mr. Pearcall's classroom:
"Success lies not in being the best, but in doing your best."
Posting that quote for us ankle-biters to read was the bearded teacher's way of setting a tone, a precedent, a theme, for the school year. Try your hardest and good things will happen, Mr. Pearcall reasoned in the early-90s.
This isn't the first day of school -- can you believe the academic year is already over? -- and I'm certainly no teacher.
Yet it's time to set the tone.
Time to set the precedent for this column, which will be printed Thursdays for the duration of summer.
So, from "Bright Rivers," a 1977 work by author Nick Lyons:
"I fish better with a lit cigar; some people fish better with talent."
Welcome to Tight Lines 2011, where it's acceptable to hold a cigar with one hand so long as you're gripping a pole or net with the other. Whether you're still learning to bait a hook or you get paid to help others do it, Tight Lines is the place for you.
This is where you'll find river reports, weather forecasts and fish counts, where you'll swap tales and share photos, where you'll gripe about crowds and drool over the dish you can't wait to cook again.
This is where fishing comes first and nothing comes next.
The scope of the column is a work in progress -- and will in part be molded by your input -- but I can tell you this: If it doesn't float, sink or swim on the central Kenai Peninsula, it doesn't belong on this page.
We're here to talk fish.
Before we float a line or a tie a fly, a little about the writer:
My 26th birthday lands near the peak of the July sockeye run, at which time I will have lived in Soldotna for about nine months.
Yes, I'm a greenhorn, a Seattle transplant, another one of those clueless outsiders -- "Ooooooh, Alaska, you're so wild and big and full of bears! Show me my purpose in life!"
I came here for the job, but also for an adventure, which I found.
What I haven't found is a reason to leave.
Love to fish.
Love to learn about fishing, too, which is good because I've got a lot of that left to do.
On Monday at Johnson Lake, I lost my favorite black leach on a wild back-cast against the wind, sending it high into the hungry branches of what I can only describe as a tree with ratty, tangled limbs. Forgive me. I don't own a dendrology book.
The point is, if you're reading this, there's a good chance you know more about fishing than I ever will. If that's the case, hang with me for the summer and let's see what happens.
And if you're new to the world of plying lines, hopefully you'll learn something from this column -- and share it with your friends.
It's an exciting time of the year because fishing season is finally kicking into high gear.
Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of the king season, and fish are biting despite historically low water levels. It's only going to get better.
But enough of this.
I'm through writing and you're through reading. It's time to go fishing.
Just remember, the right line is a tight line.
Wesley Remmer is a sports reporter at the Clarion and a fishing enthusiast.
Got a fish tale to tell? A favorite fish photo to share? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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