Friday, May 22, 2020

Go fishing.


I know, you are probably at your wit’s end being stuck in home with nothing to do. The kids have doubled down on video games but even they are getting bored with the same thing day in and day out.

Restrictions are gradually being lifted as the flattening of the curve has happened. Some are still nervous about overdoing the get-out-in-public thing. It can be understood.

Well, there is a solution.

Remember the old Andy Griffith show intro with Andy and Opie walking to the fishing hole? You know, that isn’t such a bad idea now is it? This is the absolute perfect time for some old school fishing.

You know the old parable about man and fish? Take a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he soon will have several rods, three tackle boxes, a boat… I know. That isn’t exactly how it goes, but it is reality.

And that is the thing. Go really old school and teach someone to fish. Get the kids to the bank of the lake, pond, or stream. Go through the whole experience though.

One of my fondest memories of my really young life was mom taking me beside Mr. and Mrs. Morgan’s fence line where the soil was really damp and dark and full of nutrients. If there was a such thing as perfect topsoil, especially in red clay country, it was that. It was what earth is supposed to look like.

We had a little garden shovel. Not the big spade, push down with your foot shovel. No, this was the small one for just your hand that wasn’t much larger than the size of your hand. You know, the one used for potted plants and such. We would stab the ground, pop up a plug of rich, dark soil, and start pulling earthworms.

Yes, to catch fish, we had to fish for worms first. That is the natural order of things.
We had a Mason jar, or sometimes a small cup, that we would place the worms in along with a bit of the perfect loose soil. Then we would head over the bank of the pond, hook the worm, and toss it a couple of feet in front of us.

It didn’t take long.

What didn’t take long? The whole process? Oh, I have no idea about that. I was young and the experience was new, so time wasn’t of issue. Catching fish? Absolutely that didn’t take long. Bream loved the earthworms. Some small bass did as well. And fishing with a cane pole that we also made ourselves gave all the enjoyment one needs. Getting hooked on fishing? Nope, that didn’t take long either. My next decade of life included nearly daily moments of fishing.

When the catalpa trees began to bloom, we would rotate from using earthworms to catalpa worms. There was never any shortage, as the sphinx moth would lay her eggs in large clusters on the underside of the leaves. Black and yellow with a small horn on one end, they tickled you when they crept over your legs or arms. And, **squeamish alert**, when you stuck the hook in a fluorescent green/yellow something would ooze out.

Our change in diet for the fish had them attack our hooks even more ferociously. They were like piranha on a drowning goat in some horror movie.

And occasionally, we would go to a home recipe. Taking a partial loaf of bread to the bank, along with some peanut butter, we would have a sunny-side peanut butter sandwich, the kind where it is just a piece of bread with peanut butter on top and not actually a sandwich, and then take a second slice of bread and make dough balls out of it.

Once you hook the dough ball on the line, the bream would practically jump on the shore for the bait.

Those were good times. There was plenty of social distancing. And we were never bored.

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