I stopped subscribing to the New Yorker a few years ago, mostly as a time saving measure. My Dad still gets it. He cuts out articles from newspapers and magazines that I might like and mails them to me, and this week he clipped a New Yorker essay by John McPhee about fly fishing for pickerel.
I could read anything by McPhee, even his 700-page opus about geology, but particularly his essays on fishing. Here’s a bit of his description of pickerel:
This family–Esocidae–is not popular with aesthetes, with people who torture trout. Put a pickerel in a pond full of trout, and before long all that’s in there is a larger pickerel. There are people who hunt pickerel with shotguns. In Vermont, that is legal…
A pickerel’s body is sixty percent muscle. Undulations move along the body in propulsive waves that culminate, like oar sculling, in straight-line forward thrust.”