"We may say of Angling, as Dr. Boteler said of Strawberries, Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did: And so (If I might be Judge) God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than Angling." -- The Compleat Angler, by Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton
And doubtless there are some folks who would be bored spending a day on the bank of a river, listening to the drone of a passing fly and watching for the bubbles of water or fleeing shadow that reveal the rising fish.
Such people should be left to enjoy the heat and noise of an urban summer day, while invitations to a fishing party are extended to those who find happy music in the wind in the trees or the plunk of a frog.
A fishing party should never be a large one; even the quietest of large groups murmurs into loudness. But four or even six people can spend a peaceful summer day on the bank of a stream and a happy summer evening eating their catch. In between there is the picnic brought from home, fuel for the fishermen who have worked up voracious appetites, as one does when face with the business of sitting and listening.
Unless you are a practiced angler, heir to secret streams stocked with outsize trout, the place to start on your fishing expedition is your state's Natural Resources Department (see addresses below). They will send you, on request, information on the different type fishing licenses available, maps showing the location of rivers and streams, and what fishing regulations are in force. (Most places have short-term, 5-day licenses at much lower cost than year-round permits.)
When you have deciced which fish to fish for, and where, it is time to visit a sporting-goods store to get the necessary equipment. Do not get carried away. You do not need all the tempting, expensive toys you will see.In fact, before you enter these fly-strewn pardises, ask the Natural Resources Department to give you a list of the barest essentials you will need to get your fish. Then, with puritanical control, you can nay-say the salesman and keep your bank balance intact.
When you have chosen your quietest friends, marked your map, bought your rod, and have permits in hand, you can set out on an early morning for your secret stream, where trout lurk and bass dart through the waters, waiting, though they know it not, to join you for dinner.
Later, when you cook your catch, you might want to try The Compleat Angler's recipe for preparing trout, first printed in 1978.
"Take your Trout, wash and dry him with a clean Napkin; then open him, and having taken out his guts and all the blood, wipe him very clean within, but wash him not, and give him three scotches with a Knife to the bone on one side only. After which take a clean Kettle, and put in as much hard stale Beer (but it must not be dead), Vinegar, and a little Whitewine, and Water, as will cover the Fish you intend to boyl; then throw into the Liquor a good quantity of Salt, the Rind of a Lemon, a handful of slic't Horse-Radish root, with a handsom little fagot of Rosemary, Time, and Winter-Savory.
"Then set your Kettle upon a quick fire of wood, and let your liquor boyl up to the height before you put in your Fish, and then, if there be many, put them in one by one, that they may not so cool the Liquor, as to make it fall; and whilst your Fish is boyling, beat up the Butter for your Sauce with a Ladle full or two of the Liquor it is boyling in, and being boyled enough, immediately pur the the Liquor from the Fish, and being laid in a Dish, pour your Butter upon it, and strewing it plentifully over with shav'd Horse-Radish, and a little pounded Ginger, garnish your sides of your Dish, and the Fish it self, with a slic't Lemon or two, and serve it up."
For Maryland information: Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Maryland Natural Resources Police, 11000 Old Indianhead Rd., Upper Marlboro, Md. 20870.;
West Virginia: Wildlife Resources Division, Dept. of Natural Resources, Room 812, Building 3, 1800 Washington St. East, Charleston, W.Va. 25305.;
Virginia information: Virginia State Travel Service, 906 17th St. NW., Washington, D.C. 20006.