This past Sunday I found myself at a small pond at one end of the Aquinas College campus. It was not yet noon, so the grass was damp and the small trees cast shadows long enough to sit in, away from the already too-hot sunshine.
The only visible movement was dozens of large dragonflies skimming the surface of the water, putting a serious dent in the local mosquito population and providing me with over an hour of entertainment. There were maybe five different species, some powdery blue, some iridescent green, red, brown, clear-winged, black-winged, and some with spots. The occasional brawl, sounding like a crinkling of cellophane, was the only sound.
After a while a woman and her six-ish year old son arrived. The boy had a fishing pole with him, maybe four feet long, with a big red-and-white bobber and a trout fly for bait. Now, this pond is lightly populated at the best of times, but what with the complete lack of rain in the last month, it is now at most two feet deep. The only surviving fish are minnows, three-inch bluegills, and twelve-pound carp.
Not really fly-fishing-type fish.
There was no way, other than accidentally snagging a carp half his size, that the kid would possibly catch anything. Carp are scavengers, and unless the kid had rubbed the trout fly in roadkill on the way to the pond, the carp would never even notice it. The kid was having fun, his mom was taking a break from her routine, and it was a beautiful day to just hang out and watch the fish.
So I was kind of surprised — and a little disappointed — when a police officer showed up on a bike and told the kid and his mom that there was no fishing allowed, and that they would have to leave. And he didn’t even help the kid retrieve his fly, which he had managed to cast into a tree.
After struggling to free the fly — and I offered to help, but they didn’t want any — mom and son packed it in and left. I felt kind of disappointed. The kid should have jumped in the water and tried wrestling one of the carp to shore. That would have showed that cop.