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Meet David Smith, Father, Fisherman, Fan For All Seasons

DavidSmith“Whenever I can bear that damned cold weather,” said the fishermen. Whitecaps frosted a small town pond tucked away in plain sight. Only one person was out there fishing through the cold and wind. March gripped winter tightly as the fisherman worked hard for his catch. He knew storms raise and crash barometric pressures, making them perfect times to be on the water. Squinting, casting into the wind, his braided line arched and landed just where he knew largemouth bass would stage, circling, waiting for the easy meal. “Weather be damned,” said the fisherman, David Smith.  illustration of a Largemouth bass “I started fishing at a very early age, with my grandfather. I started on the night crawler and dobber,” he said through a smile. He seems to always be smiling. When we first met, David set down his phone and right away started talking fish. Conversation was easy and fast. Fishing is on his mind, all the time. “Everything is based on time,” he said, because he’s a busy husband, father and school teacher.

Screenshot 2018-04-15 at 6.41.32 PM
borrowed sort of with permission from google.com

He talks frequently about being on Lake Winnipesaukee, taking his daughter Brooklyn fishing and one day catching a six pound largemouth bass. He’s fished all the South County spots, from a jon boat in Factory Pond to the trout stocked expanse of Tucker Pond to the small watermark on Narragansett’s Prague Park where the easy casts are on one side but the best fishing’s on the other. “It’s another snotty little pond,” he said, referring to heavy summer weed growth from where he’s plucked fish up to three pounds. He remembers weights of fish he’s caught everywhere, going back years.“The majority of the time, I’m definitely a kayak guy. I don’t need to line up a buddy…if I have two hours basically, that’s kayak all day long,” he said, interrupting a line of questioning to show me pictures of his 1992 Bass Tracker.

Life’s all about balance, right? A picture of his beautiful wife, a few of his beautiful young daughter, a few hundred of fish, two of reproductions he had made from pictures of fish, his fishing boat, his fishing kayaks, some bags of garbage he picked up while fishing; it’s all there.

The classic Bass Tracker is a low profile, two-seater purposefully built to race across a pond like Worden or glide through grasses on quiet rivers but David’s has three seats. Like David, they’re built to catch fish.

From SK High School to Rhode Island College to coaching Narragansett High School baseball, David’s all local; his favorite ponds are close and he knows them intimately.

He seems too young to say, “Back in the day,” but it shows the depth of his fishing experience. Despite having landed a 48 pound striped bass, he’s smitten with targeting largemouth in his backyard. “I do not,” he spoke sharply, when asked about keeping any fish but he buys a trout stamp every year to support the fishery. Right close to home, he paddles the Saugatucket River for the seasons’ opening day.

“I probably know what you’re getting at,” he said, acknowledging a pregnant pause as we thought about a different opening day.

The pause floated around for a moment.

You see, the fisherman is a Yankees fan in Red Sox country. Image result for red sox logo

Tried and true, season tickets took him to Saturday afternoon games at the old park with his Dad and the The World Series.

But hear me now, David Smith is no band wagoner; there’s no hesitation for loving his Yankees, his family, his fishing.

“Jesus, the ones my wife knows about?” he said quickly, when asked about how many fishing rods he owns. While there’s a few fluke rods in the mix, 25 of his roughly 30 rods are set up for freshwater, which opened the door to conversation about family.

His wife Katherine, who was momentarily expecting their second child, happily supports his time on the water but she’s all set with paddling a stormy pond in search of his elusive six-pounder. Looking at his phone, he said, “I’d like to get her into fishing but she hasn’t made that commitment yet. I told her, ‘Just try it once, if you catch a fish, it’s pretty exhilarating. You could be hooked right away.’” So far, he’s going solo, waiting for his daughter to grow into her pink-ish Zebco setup. “It’s actually a decent one,” he added.

“I would go to Tucker Pond,” he said, for finding early season largemouth. “I’m a weedless, soft plastics guy,” admitting to buying 200-300 plastics at a time.

“Tackle is like an addiction to me…I was hooked on the Zoom lizards for two years,” he chuckled. He recommended opening up bellies of Zoom Flukes to make them weedless or mixing soft plastics like Senkos in colors of pumpkin and foliage pattern with sparkles and glitter. For Spring fishing, he said, “Believe it or not I would use jerk baits, crank baits. It seems the majority of the fish are in the deep water. No matter what body of water you’re in, they’re in the deeper water. When I throw a jerk bait, I throw a Megabass, they work unbelievably.”

There’s something very different about David Smith; he’s quick with advice, he seems patient and eager to help strangers and his students understand fishing and the joy of being outdoors. Coworker and Spanish teacher Lennon Schroeder knows well, “That ‘fish story’” look David gets, “where his eyes grow big and his eyebrows nearly leap off his forehead as his hands go wider and wider to describe the fish he caught as it grows in his memory and as he growls out how much fun it was.” How fantastic to enjoy such passion.

Flipping over his phone, David said he really needed to go. I hadn’t realized that when he said his wife was close to giving birth, I didn’t realize that she was actually in the hospital, waiting and hoping, while we were sitting around, having a few beers and talking fish.

So he needed to go that minute, to join his wife, to welcome their new son Easton Lewis, to the whole world, to being a fisherman, to being the newest Yankees fan. One day, he’ll take to the water with his Dad and big sister. With a little sparkle in his eye, David said through that big smile, “I’m waiting for that day.”

I’m betting there’s a reason that Bass Tracker has three seats.

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