I know that many of you Glibs are fishermen or have had some experiences fishing, hopefully with your father or older brother as a teacher or guide. I remember with fondness the first time my Dad took me fishing, alone, with no older brothers along, just the two of us. An old wooden boat that leaked a bit (with a soup can to bail it out once in a while).
Small lake in Minnesoda, no cabins on it, appropriately called Mud Lake and for a reason. We got our feet wet walking through the swamp grass to the boat, but it was a going to be a glorious day. My Dad was fishing with minnows and he probably put one on my line. At some point of not catching any fish I found a skinny angle worm crawling in the bottom of the boat. I knew that those things caught fish so I rigged a worm on my short cane pole and before long caught a HUGE sunfish/perch/bream about 5 or 6 inches long. It was the first fish I’d ever caught! I was excited and happy. I pleaded with my Dad and he let me keep it, telling me I’d have to eat it and so on.
A while later I caught a bullhead, 7-8 inches long, and we repeated the process of keeping the fish. Now I was onto something, but no more worms in the boat but I didn’t care, I had caught fish! Not one but two! When we got back to the cabin I gave my Mom, who wasn’t a fisherperson, a blow-by-blow description of how men catch their fish. I was hooked and no pun.
I knew that I had to make some changes if I was going to be competitive with two older and experienced brothers the following year. I started saving money, begging, running cash errands, whatever it took because I needed a rod and reel, like my Dad, if I was going to chase the big ones the next summer. By Springtime I had put together a treasure chest of about 5 dollars, enough for some decent equipment. Not a Pfleuger or a Shakespeare maybe but some quality gear anyway. One thing I knew for certain, though, it had to have a level wind, not some kid reel but a real grown up reel like my Dad’s. By this time WWII was over and products of all sorts were available.
My Dad worked a half day on Saturdays, but agreed to stop on his way home and chose the best one he could find for my money. I gave him my life’s savings and one Saturday afternoon in May he came home with the nicest and best piece of fishing gear I’d ever seen, better than either brother’s, and the reel had a level wind. He’d thoughtfully bought a roll of 50 yards of black line, a bobber, some leaders and a small round tin with 50 assorted hooks. I was ready! I couldn’t wait ’til we went Up North to a lake cabin on vacation.
Like all things, vacation came, Saturday morning in June we had the ’35 Chevvie packed up and headed north. We were going to an honest-to-goodness resort on a small lake with beautiful clear water. My Dad would take the brothers out early in the morning, I could cast and catch fish off the dock and he would take me later in the day and we caught fish! I caught fish! Mostly sunfish, a few bass and northerns, maybe some perch and bullheads, I don’t know but I pulled my weight. The week flew by, but I was equal to anyone and my Dad bragged equally about my fishing skills.
As time went by I learned a lot watching and reading about fishing and hunting. We had lots of sports magazines around, reading the stories and exploits were a great winter’s pastime and summer fishing always was good times.
Time passes and as I got older I did more and more fishing with my next older brother, but he wasn’t quite as passionate as I was. As we drifted off to explore the world the fishing opportunities sort of receded into the background. I ended up in Spain sitting at the next desk to a man that was consumed with fishing and hunting. He lived to fish and quickly made me his sidekick. We talked all day and spent many Saturdays fishing in the nicer weather and hunting ducks when the rain fell in the winter. He taught me about quality equipment, got me interested in skeet/trap shooting and brought me up to date on all the latest techniques and I was back on board, adding reloading to my repertoire.
As life progressed and I got back to my old neighborhood I had the opportunity to be that kid again, only now with a boat and motor and lots of quality equipment. Instead of one bait casting reel I have a dozen and more, 3-4 tackle boxes with stuff I will never use, the folly of every fisherman. Now the problem is not finding the time but rather the difficulty of getting out of the recliner.
Yesterday was one of those life’s moments that a person wants to relive over and over. My youngest grand daughter came and wanted to go fishing. She hasn’t had much of an opportunity in doing some fun things because of school and other interference in her life but she recently graduated from college and has a little time. Anyway, we fished and talked about life, I outfitted her with some quality stuff and we caught enough fish for lunch today. She helped me clean the fish, didn’t mind the guts and smell, though her skill level needs to be upgraded some what but that will come in time.
She wants to get the hunting /shooting class done so she can sit in a deer stand this fall. We’ll start the gun handling in a couple weeks and with enough practice and patience (on my part) she will be ready by fall. My own kids never expressed much interest in hunting so this will be enjoyable for both of us. She’s an outdoor girl and if things work out the way I hope she’ll be the owner of a Marlin 336 this fall.
I think she will work on her oldest sister and encourage her to join us for the shooting fun. Both of them claim libertarian leanings so we’re off to a good start already.
Oh yeah, we had venison sausage for breakfast, Grandma cooked the fish for lunch. This girl knows how to pull on a Grandpa’s heart strings and make Grandma happy by eating everything on the menu. I’m so glad that my own parents put up with my nonsense and let me spear suckers in the spring and how to run when I saw headlights on the road. These kinds of memories will be lost to the kids with their phones and games.