Panhandling Duck


Panhandling Duck
My Wild Kingdom- episode
12 June 2012
Going fishing this summer? Bring bread. Not just the ‘bread’ like in money. I mean real bread. Stale is good, although it makes great croutons for a nice green salad. Anyway, have that bread handy and be ready to toss it away. Like the money spent on the boat, and the canopy cover that I let blow off the aft of the boat, never to be found again. Sorry. Wrong kind of bread again. 

We fish on a lovely lake in KY. I mean heart-liftingly beautiful. At the marina, huge carp swim out from under the dock requesting handouts. They’re clever. As overfed as they are, it’s hard to turn down a creature who works that hard at trying to get your attention. Pursing its lips above water so you’ll get the message that they are in dire need of bread or the cat kibble for sale in the gumball machine, they get their share. 
Don’t throw all your bread to the carp. 
Last week we got out on the lake. The Prince Consort was intensely trolling or whatever you call throwing a lure into the water over and over and cursing loudly, while I tried to figure out why I couldn’t access my manuscript on Dropbox. (No Wi Fi at the lake. Head thump.) There was a big splash behind us. I turned expecting the same whale we watched on that Alaska cruise.  
A mallard duck had landed a few yards from the boat. We watched, stunned, as he calmly paddled up to our boat and stared. And stared. First at TPC, who took a break from tangling the fishing line in the trolling motor. Then the duck paddled around the boat to my side and gave me the “I am open to you tossing me food at this time” stare. I wanted to give him TPC’s worms, but apparently there were fish left in the lake who hadn’t had their chance to strip the worms off the hook without being caught. 
I had nothing, not even the presence of mind to get my cellphone out and take a photo of our visitor. So the mallard flapped up and away. He bee or duck-lined for the pontoon boat parked across the lake, where I hope they had some picnic leftovers to share.
I may have missed the panhandling duck, but I did get a photo of one of the two fish that didn’t get away from TPC. That is, he reeled them in, then took them off the hook and returned them to the lake to grow up into bigger than goldfish bowl size. 

Kath who is saving a loaf of stale bread for the next fishing trip instead of making croutons. 

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