We took the following pictures in early June of 2003. My brother and I spent three days sitting, squatting, standing and lying on the ledges at Ticonic, observing and photographing the herring climbing the ledges. While we snapped pictures, people fishing hauled striped bass out of the foaming white water around us.

We received some curious looks from the many people that came and went over the three days we spent there. Looks that said, why are these two taking pictures of herring when there are so many striped bass being caught? Being an avid striped bass fisherman, I asked myself that same question more than once while sitting on the ledges snapping pictures. However, it seemed that every time I felt the urge to get up and cast a line the herring would rivet me back to the ledges with a fresh performance. Each spot on the ledges, each angle, the changing flow patterns all offered a new lesson and fresh perspective about the herring. The way they would charge upstream in mass, timing their push perfectly to coincide with the pulses of white water flooding the ledges. Their colors, normally dull when viewed from above changed dramatically when they turned on their sides to knife up the shallow water racing down the ledges. They flashed, shades of pink and silver, electric blue reflecting off their scales in the dim light of a cloudy, misty afternoon. Their eyes, captured by the camera, thrust hard forward determined and unflinching as they charged into the maelstrom of Ticonic.

When I arrived back home after my annual spring pilgrimage to Ticonic I received an e mail from my brother. He wrote about the time we spent there, and the value of what we saw and captured on film. I responded with the following. "As I laid on the ledges snapping pictures beneath the curious eyes of the bass fisherman I wanted to scream at them, shake them by the shoulders. Why don't you see this? Why don't you see these fish as we do? Look at them they are magnificent."


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