I have been fishing since I was able to hold a cane pole. When I was little, each night we were Up North, all of the cousins and Grandpa Bill would pile onto the pontoon with a handful of aunts and uncles to go Sunfishing. Sometimes one of us would catch a dogfish on accident. Other times we would catch one another.
I remember the first Northern I ever caught. When I was approximately eight years old, my cousin Sharon was the recipient of a kiddie casting pole. It was pink and purple and I was so jealous because I did not have one. On an early morning, I “borrowed” it and Dad and I walked down to the edge of the dock. Armed with nothing more than a few worms and some sweet corn, I believe the expedition was more conceived with the idea that my preoccupation with testing out a casting pole kept me from waking everyone else up at that early hour and less with actually catching anything.
Imagine my wide-eyed surprise when the big one actually struck and I was reeling in my first Northern on that kid-sized pole. The funny part is that I remember nothing about the fish beyond the fact that I caught it, but I vividly remember Dad being there with me to witness the moment.
I am 100% positive that the only reason I care to fish now is because when Billy is home, that’s what he wants to do, and I want to spent time with him. He cleaned up an old rod for me as a birthday gift last year and equipped me with some of his standby spinner-worm combinations so that I could have some level of success out on the waters.
He will be the first to tell you that fishing with me is a nightmare, because when we are trolling, I can never ever tell if I have a fish or a weed. But that’s part of the fun, I suppose. You never know what will come out of the water next when I am on the boat.
We went out on Sunday night.
I was hauling them in and Billy was seeing no action whatsoever, until he caught the largest Northern he has ever brought in the boat.
It was a thrilling fight. The first time it came out of the water, all we could see was its giant mouth and we knew it was going to be one hell of a fish.
While everything else we caught was catch-and-release (it’s just how we do things), this went belly-up after Billy threw it back. In the great Eagle Food-Appetizer debate, Appetizer won hands-down.
Mom and I went to the dam on Wednesday afternoon.
We always watch others fish those waters when we drive through town, but until last week, I had never been.
While this was not a deeply fruitful mission, I did make one catch and it was an Eelpout! Given that my only experience with these fish is hearing about them on TV segments, when I pulled it out of the water, Mom rushed over with the tackle box.
Which, I then opened in a grand display of our communal fishing domination to search for the pliers we didn’t have. Of course. It was a relief to both of us to realize that Eelpouts do not have stingers and so the pliers were not needed.
We launched an expedition with Uncle Doug on Thursday morning.
Given the amount of effort it took to get the Dogfish into the boat, there was no way I was actually going to hold the thing. This is what brothers are for.
Poor Uncle Doug got skunked, but as we cruised the lake and the channel to the river, he told us stories about the fishing adventures he and Grandpa Bill went on when he was a boy. I will not lie, the idea of rowing an hour and a half across the lake and up the river to hit all of the “holes” before making a return trip sounds exhausting!
We also had some odd moments like this Northern that snapped Billy’s line. Once the line snapped, it didn’t swim away, it just went straight for the bottom and stayed there. So we pulled the boat around, grabbed the line out of the water and Billy reeled it in by hand.
And finally, on Thursday evening, we went out with Uncle Steve.
We may or may not have exhausted our luck at this point, since the only thing Billy caught was this tiny Bass. The moment he hooked that one, we were able to call the evening a success and head toward home.