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David Scott '15 caught his first fish when he was too young to remember, but he was hooked. When he got older, he would visit Miller's Pond in his suburban Long Island neighborhood. Day after day he fished there, with the relentlessness of a safe-cracking burglar, not catching anything. Finally, something clicked, and he started hooking fish. He had "figured out the pond," as he explained it later. He'd spent a year at it. He was still in elementary school.
By 13, Scott was skilled enough to win a bass fishing tournament at his local club, setting a club record for the most cumulative pounds of fish ever caught in a competition. Fishing gear companies enlisted him as a spokesman. He found himself doling out advice to men four times his age. When he went to college, he earned a degree, not surprisingly, in environmental science with a focus on watershed science. Scott rapturously recalls a summer he spent in Alaska counting salmon, including one day when he snorkeled down a frigid river amid thousands of the massive fish. But after seeing biologists struggle for grant funding, he decided to pursue a law degree with an eye toward protecting waterways. “that’s why I’m up here today. I’m all in love with fishing, and it seemed right to be protecting what I love,” he says.
He picked South Royalton partly for its environmental law program, and partly because it was close to decent fishing. He winnowed his rod collection at school down to the minimum—a mere 30 rods. And he doesn’t fish every day now. But he still spent nearly 10 days ice fishing in a tiny shack on Silver Lake in nearby Barnard during the past winter. And he often finds a few minutes to grab a rod and try his luck at McIntosh Pond, a few minutes’ drive northeast of town. It’s something he can’t imagine being able to do in a big-city law school. “there are some days when I want to get away from these law books and still go fishing,” he says. “And I can.”