The season is over, here at Fish in a Barrel Pond. At times I thought it would never end and, in some ways, I didn’t want it to end but cold weather is coming and it is time to change gears. Cottages full of people and boats dotting the pond are giving way to chainsaws and skidders in the woods and this part of Vermont belongs once again to the locals. A couple of guys who live nearby might come over on exceptionally nice days, to fish from the dock but, with the cottages shut down and all the boats pulled from the water, we are effectively closed for business.
The end of the season means Performance Review time for old Quill and, while I had no reasons (that I could think of) to worry, I’m never sure just what to expect from the members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society. They can be a fickle bunch and I have to watch myself to be sure I am seen as neutral and not aligned with some faction or another.
Currently, the membership seems to be divided into three groups – Group 1 refers to Group 2 as “certain members”, Group 2 refers to Group 1 as “those people” and Group 3 thinks both Groups 1 & 2 are insane and should spend a lot more time on the water. It is a fine line I walk as I convince them that I love them all and want them all to be happy and that things would go a lot smoother around here if they would leave me the heck out of their petty bickering, festering feuds and personal agendas. Someone needs to be here to open the gates next April and I would prefer it to be me.
I like my job and I believe that most of the members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society like me. Or, if they don’t like me, they at least feel I am competent and qualified for the job but with some people there’s just no telling. At least not until the results of the biennial Survey of the Membership come out.
Covering a wide range of issues, this survey is a way for members to spout off and express their opinions on everything from dues, the board of directors and the quality of the fishing to forestry management plans, cottage remodeling and the way I do my job. Seventy nine of the 100 members responded to this year’s survey and the bottom line is that 75 of them were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the current state of affairs. Four of them were “very dissatisfied” and, as you might expect, it is not difficult to figure out who those four are.
A few excerpts from the Comments section of the survey, as they pertain to me:
“Quill Gordon’s keen observations of weather, water conditions and insect activity are invaluable to anyone wanting to catch fish from our pond. When I come up for a weekend I don’t have the time to try 50 flies in 100 places to get a fish but I know that if Quill tells me to skate an elk-hair caddis off the point above Green Damselfly Cove that that’s what I should do. He puts me onto fish every time! It was a great season.” -R.B., Boston
“Quill Gordon thinks he’s so smart, suggesting what flies I should use and where. I’ve been fishing the same way for 30 years and I have no intention of changing! This was the worst year of fishing I can remember.” -C.G., Pittsburgh
“Quill Gordon is fair and honest in all his dealings with the membership of our little club. He is forthright and up front and you always know just where he stands. No funny business or messing around, just the truth and an honest effort to understand.” -R.R., Houston
“Quill Gordon is a dick.” -C.G., Pittsburgh
All things considered, I think it was a good season and have agreed, in principle, to another two-year stint as caretaker for the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society here at Fish in a Barrel Pond. The board of directors and I will meet soon to finish the details in my contract and, as long as C.G. from Pittsburgh stays off the board, I think I’m okay.
Time for a nap.