Running Downhill

My good friend Chicken Sandy refers to the practice for a specific New York City pedestrian phenomenon. It happens when you’re the lone crosser at a street intersection faced with a mass of humanity bearing down on you from the other direction. Square your shoulders, stare at an imagined object beyond and over the heads of the impending onslaught, and just go. Don’t stop, don’t turn your shoulders to sidle around people, just walk forward and part them like the red sea. It works surprisingly well unless someone from the other direction is also moving downhill. That leads to situations.

It’s actually an old football cliché, spouted by every coach I ever had for any sport. Keep your shoulders low to the ground, keep your legs moving, keep the momentum on your side. (Also, weigh 230 and have 4.4 speed.)

In fishing it applies to the times when nothing is favorable–the tide’s all wrong, a front just came through, it’s too silty, the wind is so intense that things on your boat start to rattle and hum–and you say to yourself, the hell with it, and start fishing.

You feel like you should earn something for riding it out and paying your dues. But it doesn’t work that way. The fish don’t really care one way or the other about the karma you’ve built up by sticking with it . They’re either there and ready to eat–or willing to be coaxed into it–or they’re not. I know this, and I still do it anyway. I’m running downhill, man, I’m earning it. And every once in a while a fish comes on the scene and tricks me into believing that karma had something to do with it.

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