Sunday, May 8, 2011

Fishing Memories

June 4 through June 12 is National Fishing and Boating Week.  That sounds like a good excuse to hit the water.  So I have been thinking, what could I do to make this really special?  Time to build some memories.

First fish.  Also had hair back then...

I remember as a kid, I had a fishing pole set I believe came from Rose’s.  We did not have Wal-Mart back then.  We did have Rose’s, Cook’s, King’s, and Kmart, and my best times shopping was when my mom and great-grandmother went to Rose’s each Friday.  The fishing set had a plastic reel, plastic hook, and even a plastic fish with a hole in its mouth that fit nicely with the plastic hook.  If I remember correctly, the fish was red.  Not bright red, more like a flat faded red.  My mom took me out beside the pond next to the house (not even 30 yards away) and I would whip the line in and out of the water from the bank like I was beating a bull.  As chance would have it, a poor unlucky fish happened to swim in the exact spot where I was pounding the water, and when I yanked the line back out, the bream was snagged on the plastic hook.  My mom was laughing hysterically and I was half scared and half excited.  My mom still has an old faded picture of me holding that little bream.
The big one that didn't get away.
I spent most of my pre-teen life fishing either at my pond or Silver Lake.  When I was seven, I was fishing one afternoon before supper time when I caught my big one.  I remember vividly the whole experience.  I was using a Zebco 202 with a red Mister Twister worm.  We had a cow pasture around half of the pond, and I was fishing from inside the pasture.  There was a fallen tree about a hundred yards inside the pasture, stretching fifty to sixty feet out into the water.  The largemouth loved to bed near the shoreline there and would swim to the deeper water where the limbs from the tree would offer cover to feed.  It was my second cast at that location when I got a big hit.  At first I thought I was snagged as the reel just stopped.  I realized I had a fish when the line started back out no matter what I did as far as reeling in.  I finally grabbed the line with my hand and started pulling it in.  I was on the small side for my age and when I got the bass to where I could see it I was amazed.  I could not get him up on the shore, so I pulled him over to a shallow that had some concrete blocks creating a small pool.  I was able to leave the fish there while I ran to tell my dad and mom what I had.  At first they did not believe me, but with much coaxing Daddy finally followed me back out to the pasture.  Just as we reached the area, the bass slithered over the blocks.  Daddy’s quick hands grabbed the line and the fish, slinging it on shore.   The largemouth still hangs on my wall today.
So, on this coming fishing and boating week, I am going to plan on taking my youngest son Cooper on his first fishing trip with me.  We will not be going after citation size fish, but we will be going after a memory for both of us.  I will do all I can to build up the coming week to him.  My goal is to have him asking me each night how many more days before we go.  I will likely pack a picnic lunch for us, with food of his choosing (here come the cheese puffs and peanut butter sandwiches!) along with a few juices.  My oldest son Turner loved our adventures when he was Cooper’s age.  I imagine Cooper will do the same.  After all, if all goes well, Cooper could be telling a story 35 years from now about how he went with his dad on a fishing safari and caught his first fish.

Bill Howard is a Hunter Education and Bowhunter Education Instructor , a Wildlife Representative and BCRS Program Chairman for the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, and an avid outdoorsman.  Please forward any pictures or stories you would like shared to billhowardoutdoors@gmail.com.

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