Outdoor Chenango: The Number 10 Pinky
Published: March 29th, 2023
By: Eric Davis

Outdoor Chenango: The Number 10 Pinky

During the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college I was invited by a high school friend, Todd, to go on a weekend trip to his family’s cabin in the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts.

We were joined by two of his friends he had met at SUNY Alfred and his younger brother. After traveling for a few hours, we found ourselves settling in to the cabin Todd’s mom had grown up in. We unloaded all our bags and fishing supplies before setting out to explore around the house.

A small stream ran along the property in the front of the house and a simple stone dam created a small pond in the yard. As we walked along the ponded area, frogs leapt from the shore into the water. We also noticed some asparagus growing in the yard. After the tour around the property, dinner was started and we sat around the fireplace telling stories until we all headed to bed.

On the second day of our trip, we walked to a stream down the road and began our attempt to catch a few trout. Todd and his brothers had fished the stream once a year for most of their lives so they had a few honey holes that they shared with us. Everyone started out using the typical trout lures, phoebes and inline spinners. After fishing a couple spots were headed to a big pool below some rapids.

The water in the pool was crystal clear and you could see trout swimming behind some of the big rocks in the pool. It surely would be like shooting fish in a barrel being able to watch the trout chase down our lures. It quickly proved to be just the opposite. When we had exhausted all the lures in our tackle boxes and were ready to give up, Todd and Matt started talking about a lure that always caught fish.

After a few minutes I picked up on the name, the number 10 pinky. Since my experience fly fishing was a total of about 5 minutes of trying to cast and giving up, I knew that flies were often discussed as the size and the pattern so I assumed the number 10 pinky was a fly. With a little back and forth debate between brothers, it was agreed that the pinky needed to come out. So, they set out up the bank and began flipping over rocks. A minute or two later, they came back to the stream with a big, fresh worm.

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They quickly rigged a fishing rod with a hook and a few split shots, threaded the worm onto the hook, and cast the worm into the middle of the pool. We all watched the worm sink to the bottom without the trout even looking at it. “Just wait” they kept saying. Sure enough after 30 seconds of the worm wiggling on the bottom, one of the trout came over to investigate and picked it up off the bottom.

They quickly set the hook and reeled the trout in. They put the trout on a stringer and sent the worm back into the pool. Only a minute or two later they added a second trout to the stringer. After a little more fishing, we called it for the time being and headed back to the cabin.

Someone had brought a bottle of teriyaki sauce to cook with. We had used it already to cook some venison steaks the night we arrived and had enjoyed it. Everyone but me was excited to whip up some trout in the same sauce (I’m allergic to eating fish).

While discussing some other options for lunch, we came up with the idea of trying frog legs. Two of the guys found an old BB gun in the cabin and used it to get a few frogs from the ponded stream in the yard. After a little butchering, we had two pans going on the stove, one of fish and one of frog legs. As we sat around and enjoyed our field (or water)-to-table meal, all I could think about was the number 10 pinky. Now I think along a similar line and go back to the roots of using live bait to catch fish and I find myself enjoying it more than ever.