A truck, not a boat, fits this angler just right

Jul. 08, 2013 @ 11:29 PM

Pursey drives a dump truck, instead of a boat. He is from a small community that has no mayor or city council or stoplight or late-night menu or neon sign, and he is from where some call, way out there. He is a man’s man.

He attended school here and has always liked tractors and trucks and his calloused hands are rough and protected with dirt and grease and oil and mustard from the ham sandwich he ate an hour ago. He fishes, too. He is just a fisherman. A boat he does not own. The sea he has never cast hopes into. And for Pursey, there is no reason to venture beyond the small ponds and whimsical bends in the rivers or the holes, from which he has always known.

Pursey is ripened in his age of somewhere between 50 and 60 and if asked, he has the solution for the problems of this world, and, for anyone that drives something smaller than a loaded dump truck, too.

There were no great angling lessons or skills he had to master or knots that must be learned or how to read a compass or when the fish bite, because of a waning moon, in July, and he has never cast a fly, tied a fly, or waded amongst a hatch.

From the Southern drawl of a man that was few with words and quick to scold and frowned often, except when in church, and seemed uncomfortable tossing a ball in backyard catch, Pursey’s father, taught him how to catch fish, without fad or fashion or other nuances of mainstream angling.

It was on a long route through to Franklin, where he was hauling gravel, that Pursey began to carry his fishing pole in his truck. The man that owned the pond had said it was ok and upon unloading, Pursey would cast a few rounds and sometimes bring a common two-pound bass home for supper. He would ask strangers. He would stop on the road and speak with farmers. He would write an address on the back of a receipt and call that night, when he thought a pond might look good.

Where most anglers carried boats on trailers and filled the boats with tackle and rods and coolers and the like, Pursey’s cab of his truck is how he moves fishing poles from pond to pond. Where most might lay a tackle box and a fishing pole and a bucket and a red and white cooler and brown paper sacks, filled with orange crackers and warming, by the sun, soft drinks, Pursey shoved his fishing pole among flares and maps and empty bottles that jostled when the truck was in motion, as how his rod and reel and sometimes bucket, too, would accompany him in transit.

It is common for Pursey, to pull his rig off the road and to take his pole and lunch bag and walk a spell to fish a spell, between loads he had to haul that day. Fishing is not about technique or verbiage or ripping a lure across the water to incite an aggressive act from a somnolent fish in a stagnant pond. Pursey approaches fishing much the same way as he approaches his life, that being simple efficiency in a sometimes complicated inefficient world.

He is and has always been and will always be, his left sock on first and coffee at 3 p.m., two creams and no sugar, and apple pie on his birthday, and he is the one you lean to hear speak, because he speaks so soft and humble. He doesn’t push buttons or attends a meeting or patent ideas or dazes into a screen, and he prefers mail that is delivered by his neighbor down the road. He always waves when Pursey lumbers by.

His world is that of a narrow window from a dump truck.

He hauls materials used to build and resources that are being thrown away and he navigates traffic and life and resists the urges to change and there are but a few times in the course of a week that he will manage a self-inflicted smile. There is humbleness and a craft of naked redundancy that Pursey has resisted trends not just in angling but also in life, too. He is like cold molasses among other anglers, in judgment, if at all. He is careful to observe but also careful to be reserved, too.

When others talk of speed and covering water and depths and colors that are irresistible and the thrust of a motor in full throttle, Pursey listens. He listens until the conversation is done and he stuffs a receipt in his hand. He listens later, while being loaded with gravel that is bound for the other side of the county, that is not needed until 3 p.m. He listens, when the air brakes of his truck bleed and the cab door is shut tight and the first baited hook of the day is nearing its cast location in this stagnant water.

Upon setting the hook and sipping his warm soda and then releasing the fish and baiting the hook, again, Pursey looks beyond the short cut grass, beyond the fence where he met the landowner one day, and he sees his truck tucked appropriately from off the road. He pauses and notices a speeding truck on the road, with boat in tow. He has twelve minutes and twelve miles to travel and enough time to flick his wrist, cast his line, and wet a hook and to fish.

Pursey drives a dump truck, instead of a boat.

Enjoy your time outdoors.