Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Fish and Whistle

I'm a netizen, an Internet habitué, with more Facebook friends than Flesh and Blood. Thanks to the world wide web and the ubiquity of connectivity, I visit regularly with people I'll never meet in Australia, South Africa, Europe and all points across the United States. Imagine my amazement, they have the Internet, too.

But I don't just get smart about people and places far away. I get to know and learn more about Norwich than I would ever otherwise even if  I were to walk every step of our 28 point something miles. And I do a lot of walking. (Based on reactions and comments I may soon have to take up running and hiding, too.) At about 2000 steps per mile, we're talking a bunch of steps and bear in mind that's not the perimeter around the city but, rather, just the area. Sort of like, 'yeah, it's hot, but it's a dry heat.'

For instance, did you know on Facebook there's a group called Thames River Fishing, dedicated to, well, you can probably guess what they're dedicated to. That shouldn’t be all that earth shaking when you think about it. Each of knows someone who fishes. Fishing is a very popular sport with tens of millions of fishermen and more than one fisherman’s friend. We’ve all seen the bumper snicker that reads ‘a bad day of fishing beats a good day of work.’  Luckily fish can’t read.

You can stop down almost anywhere along the Norwich Harbor day or night and watch people with nets or rods and reels (not to mention a few optimists with a bag of bread and a bat), on shore and in boats. And even though my idea of fish is mostly fish sticks, I am amazed and impressed at the variety and size of what many of them catch in the Norwich Harbor and the rivers that flow into it.

Even if you did know of Thames River Fishing (they're easy enough to find on Facebook) did you know they're sponsoring a harbor clean-up this Saturday from nine until three? I just assumed there were a lot of dirty fish, but Gerry the Serious Fisherman makes a terribly sad face when I say that out loud, so I won’t.
I'm bringing work gloves and some plastic trash bags. If you have an hour or more to spare, I would encourage you to do the same, because, as you may have noticed, we have a pretty good sized harbor, and I imagine the fishermen-turned-clean-up committee would welcome all the help we can give them.

And we're helping them to help us, if you think about it. There's been a lot of buzz about 'leveraging the Norwich Harbor for economic development' which deserves serious discussion, analysis, planning and implementation but when you get to where the road and the sky collide and understand what sport fishermen who regularly visit the local rivers are interested in, you develop a whole new appreciation for our harbor as a community asset, recreational outlet and tourist destination.
So if you get the chance Saturday, roll up your sleeves and join in the pre-spring clean-up. And, I‘ve been told, leave the tartar sauce and lemon at home.
-bill kenny

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