Friday, June 23, 2006

Ellis The Rim Man

Today I wore my "Ellis The Rim Man" T-shirt. I wore it to work, and to a semi-business meeting down on the Cape. I like the shirt because it is comfortable. But mainly I like it because it is one of a kind. Ellis The Rim Man was an automotive store on the Allston-Boston line, on Commonwealth Avenue until recently (I have no idea when the place folded....2002?). I lived, for a year, about three blocks from Ellis and walked, biked, or T'ed my way by the store daily. And through subsequent years I would note the huge red sign, with white block lettering, stating the exact position of Ellis The Rim Man. The ginormous sign up ontop of the building was also noteworthy...ELLIS THE RIM MAN!!!

So I wore my ETRM shirt today (an old birthday present from a former brother-in-law) and found distinct pleasure in seeing various faces light up throughout the day in response to it. First it was Corey, who I work with, who gave me that warm face that said: "Ah yes, Ellis the Rim Man....the good ol' days in Allston." Then there was Bill at my meeting on the Cape...he thoroughly enjoyed the shirt and we both went on about our youthful days in Boston and the BU neighborhoods. Then later my fiend Jason who gazed warmly at the shirt. All gazers stated that Ellis was out of business and that the shirt is certainly a collector's item. But I doubt anyone would want my shirt now.

Anyway, so what's this got to do with fishing, you ask. Well, nothing really, except that the shirt experienced my evening on the water, that's all:

Tonight was a mixed bag of weather: threatening black clouds and drops of rain. I ran into Don Gunster behind the Battelle laboratory and we both decided it would be better thinking and talking out on my boat rather than among the mosquitoes and gnats on shore. So we went out and first checked our lobster pots (to find only spider crabs, again, and one lonely little black seabass..which I almost kept for dinner). But, alas, Don received the telephone call that would dictate his immediate future. He had 20 minutes to get home (really, quite understandably) and so our trip was somewhat truncated.

But I was relatively free tonight and dropped off Don on the dock and continued my evening on the water. Seth and his friend (?) were fishing off the dock - Seth is the son of Ted, who works at Battelle. The two boys are out there every night fishing and the scene that they create make me remember my childhood in Westport, CT. I was usually out on the rocks and mud and sand trying to catch blues and stripers, or whatever was around, most days after school and throughout the summer. These two kids on the dock were displays of my past.

My plan was to attempt to hook some hickory shad (see last night's post) and do some liveling out at the dogleg for big stripers. I set up some drifts along the shore. It was mid tide, an incoming tide, and the wind also shifted to the south, so that my drift was fairly consistent along the western shore of the bay. I put a small, white fly on my new flyrod and soon I was hooking things. My first fish was a small blue, only 14 inches long, if that. But I kept it in my live well because I thought about livelining him. Then a striper, about 15 inches long, then another striper about 8 inches long....nothing too interesting, I know. But then the elusive hickory shad, I actually saw it take the fly right next to the boat. While I struggled to taylor my fly line it loosened its hold and was free. "Fuckin'....Ugh..." I said out loud. The shad would have been the cherry on the cake. I like the idea of hooking shad in saltwater. They are amazing fish, and apparently amazing bait fish for big stripers. So, after one more striper I docked the boat, spoke to the kids for a bit (they were too focused on their fishing to pay much attention to my fishing stories), and packed up.

The thing is, is that tonight was simply fooling around along the banks of the bay, catching small fish. The blue, which I kept, was my trophy of the night. I fileted him right on the kitchen cutting board (no one else was home) and fried the filets in olive oil, butter, and red onions (along with mushrooms and brocolli). Man, was that tasty - probably the best bluefish I've had in 30 years. But the point, again, is that just tooling around the marsh, among the mosquitoes and gnats, I found a real identifiable connection to a long lost youthful period in my life. I was mucking around and hooking little fish - not concerned with "keepers" or "corkers" or whatever the fuck people call them. Just plain fun.

Now, how Ellis The Rim Man fits into this story, I don't really know. But Ellis was on my mind all day and I just had to get it out.


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