New Heathens

The Curse of the Sucker


It was a fantasy gig: my good friend Joe Cassady booked me to play a solo gig in High Bridge, NJ. Just so happens my favorite Jersey trout stream, the East Branch of the Raritan River, runs through High Bridge. This gig meant I could fish until dark, then go play music. Perfect, right?

There are several fish species in the Raritan, the most prized are the trout; rainbows, browns and brookies. There are also a bunch of suckers, ugly fuckers that suck gunk off the riverbottoms and are rumored to bring a curse to whomever is unlucky enough to catch one. Fortunately, I'd never caught a sucker.

On my third cast I hooked a big one. My rod doubled over and I felt a mighty tug. I saw a flash of gold at the bottom of the river. "Ooh!" I thought, "I've hooked a big, brown trout." Judging by that flash of gold, I thought it might run 18-inches.

I battled that fish to the side of the river, it hung deep in the water and shook its head. Finally I got it up to the surface...

And saw, to my disgust, that it was a 20-inch sucker.

"Oh well," thought I, "that curse thing is just a fisherman's legend."

I bent down to unhook the ugly beast, and my cell phone fell out of my pocket and sank to the bottom of the river.

The real sucker, onstage at Circa in High Bridge

Of course I blame the sucker for any wrong chords I may have hit at my gig. Played at a bar/restaurant called Circa and had a good time. Looking forward to going back in July.

The only way to reverse the Curse of the Sucker, according to legend, is to catch a beautiful trout. Slept that night on Joe Cassady's couch and tried again in the morning. Nothing.

Finally got lucky on Sunday afternoon at a lovely little stream somewhere in Westchester County...

The little brown trout that reversed the curse.

Matching the hatch...

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