My grandson, Nick and his dad, Jeff, and I went fishing the other day in Lake George near Rhinelander. In a row boat. The fish had not been biting the several days we were there, so no promises for Nick.
Jeff rowed toward a patch of lily pads near shore and I told Nick he should toss his line in that direction. We watched his little red and white bobber bounce as a bright July sun crawled over the treetops to our east.
For a nine year old, Nick is patient. Much more so than his dad at that age. But Nick wanted to catch a fish, it didn’t matter how large or want kind. A fish. Any fish. Finally, the bobber dipped and Nick reeled in a small bluegill, about the size of his hand. Not very big, Nick said. Already he knew about bragging rights for big fish caught.
We removed the fish from his line and returned it to the water. He tossed his line in again, and again, and again, and nothing. No more bluegill bites. Then, as he was slowly retrieving his hook hanging full of nightcrawler, a fish struck it hard. Nick jumped. I told him to keep the line tight. The fish leaped out of the water a foot or so and with a great splash returned. Nick kept reeling, his eyes as big as the bluegill he released a short time earlier. Soon, Nick had the fish alongside the boat—a smallmouth bass about a foot long.
The fish was hooked on the lower lip, and its mouth was wide open as we lifted it into the boat. You caught a smallmouth bass, I told Nick. Nick, all excited, said, Grandpa, that fish has a big mouth not a little one.
For the next couple days when I asked Nick to tell us the length of his fish, his hands were a bit further apart each time. He is learning how to tell a fish story.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Fishing is always good. Catching something can be a challenge.
UPCOMING WRITING WORKSHOPS:
Writing From Your Life. The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI. August 2-8.
Writing From Your Life. Sheboygan Public Library, August 20, p.m.
Writing From Your Life. The Clearing, Ellison Bay, WI. October 17. a.m.. & p.m.
August 15. Creekside Books, Cedarburg. 12-3:00. Old Farm.
August 16. Railroad Days, Stonefield Village, Cassville.