Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Voices from the Past: Irving A. Cohen (1948)

Today in Voices from the Past we're going to feature a classic outdoor writer from the middle part of the 20th century. His name was Irving A. Cohen and for years he wrote the "Nimrod and Angler" column for The Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia. Cohen also had a radio and later television show of the same name on WGKV in the 1950s, and wrote for magazines like Wonderful West Virginia. Writers like Cohen got local renown but little national notoriety; it's a shame because he's a fine writer, as seen in this column from April 4, 1948.

THIS trout fishing bug is a peculiar thing. Once bitten, the angler is immune to serious consideration of almost any other form of angling. Even the capture of a lordly merlin or a smashing tuna becomes but an incident in a career dedicated to the casting of the little fuzzy-wuzzies for fish which in many cases do not exceed in size the bait for other fish.

Let's take the brook trout. Many anglers admit that there are many other species who wage a gamer battle than the brookie, but they would rather fish for brook trout than for any other fish. This is evidence that their greatest enjoyment Is not inspired by the battle for what comparison is there between a half-pound or even a two-pound brook to that of a ten-pound bluefish, sailfish or a muskie?

The charm of trout fishing does not lie in the struggle of the fish after it is hooked, the art of casting and luring the fish provides keen enjoyment, but probably most trout fishermen derive their greatest pleasure from the environment. Just mention the Cherry River, Laurel, Greenbrier, or Hills Creek or the north fork of the Potomac to any angler familiar with these waters, watch his face light up!

After all,where can one find more beauty than along a trout stream, a stream flowing through wooded country alternating foaming rapids with calm pools and perhaps a waterfall?

THIS YEAR the siege Is starting early. Our telephone keeps buzzing with the query, "Where can I fish within a few miles of here, and can you guarantee us that we will be sure of getting our limit of nice big trout?"

If we knew of such a stream, the secret of its location would make the atom bomb security look like an electric sign. If there was such a stream and we made its location public, how long do you suppose that the few trout stocked in that stream would remain? A few years ago a friend of ours in an experimental mood and on a wager, told several anglers of a stream in Pocahontas county that was "literally full of legal sized rainbow trout." His own research had convinced him that there was not a trout in the stream. The next day he counted 20 cars in that vicinity.

Most of the trout streams we are told have been stocked to a greater or lesser degree, but no stream can withstand concentrated fishing pressure. Approximately 225,000 trout for all Went Virginia streams does not go far, especially if there are about 100,000 anglers during the trout season.

-- Dr. Todd

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