A River Doesn't Run Through It

In the heart of the urban jungle, and angler's oasis

"What was the big catch?" Quiet Al rasps.

"The big fish of the day was 35 pounds," says Feisty Al, giving Dog Bites a wink. "Fishermen are very nice people, except they lie a lot. Politicians all started out as fishermen."

The three fishing amigos decide to show us the plugging game out in the casting pool, where four colored hula hoops form an imperfect diamond whose center is about 30 feet from the shore. In the plugging game, each player attempts to cast his weight into the prescribed hoop, which is 24 inches across. The weights zip from their short rods and hit their target more often than Barry Bonds gets walked.

During a losing effort, Bernasconi explains the basics of plugging competitions. "You've got to put the fly wherever they want. The fly has to go in the ring. It looks easy, but it's not easy." He shakes his head as the Als convert repeatedly. "I've come here for many years, and it's still not easy."

After mopping the floor with Bernasconi, Feisty Al looks over at Dog Bites and smiles. "Like I said, this is a great place ... to get away from the wife."

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