Red Letter Day
So today was an unusual day. Believe it or not... today... I caught my first fish. Seriously. My first fish.
As I have stated on many occasions... I can't fish. I've fished hundreds of times. I've fished in stocked ponds. I've fished in super-double-secret-guaranteed-fishing-holes. I've fished right next to guys who were pulling out huge walleye... with the same technique.. and the same bait.
Until today. See... today I decided it was time to teach Jeb to fish... and while I understand that it is traditionally an uncle's responsibility to teach his nephew to fish... Jeb and Eli are blessed with two no-account and shiftless uncles... neither of which can hold a job. It should also be stated... that their in-ability to hold a job is totally unrelated to any fishing habits they may have... since they have none.
So... in the face of these stacked odds... I grabbed our gear... and took the boys off to my parents place...which happens to face a nice little community pond. Now you've probably seen this pond a thousand times... it has ducks and signs around it that say "No Fishing, No Swimming, Ect...". Of course the home owners association put those signs there so every Tom, Dick, and Harry wouldn't come take all the fish from their stocked pond. It is in the by-laws that home owners and their guests are allowed to fish there. Remember that... it's important later.
Well... we were all down at the pond getting setup... when Nana started walking back to her house with Elkan.. and this crusty old man in a white pickup drives up and starts talking to her. I didn't really pay any attention... as I was busy teaching my 3 and 5 year olds the deadly nature of fishing hooks.. apparently the old man was concerned that we were going to leave the two boys unattended. Nana pointed out that I was their father and I would be with them... and he drove off.
From there... things went about as you'd expect. Many tangles... many many tangles... but Jeb and Eli eventually became pretty good casters all things considered. And... as Jeb says... the most important thing to know about fishing... you have to be able to wait.
It never really occurred to me that I could catch a fish... I was just casting... as far as I could.. and reeling the rappala back in... just like I had a million other times.. when it happened. I felt something. Then something else... then a bass jumped out of the water with my lure in its mouth.. ok well... it was sort of in its face... and gill... but still... I had the little bastard!
Jeb and Eli freaked out. They were jumping up and down on the bank... They were fired up dude... it was awesome.
And then another thing occurred to me... I've never taken a hook out a fish before... I've never handled a fish before... Here I am about to have to teach my boys important etiquette... protocol... and technique... and I am going to royally screw it up!
But they don't KNOW I screwed it up!
HA! You can imagine... I did what you do... I made up some grand ritualistic sounding lore about always wetting your hands before handling the fish and tried to include things I'd heard others say... and I made up a great deal of it. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
So I pull the little bastard out of the water... I say little... I have no idea what little is. He was about a foot long and fatter than I had expected. He fought like hell too... jumping and such... it was a hoot. Anyway... I got him up... and I assume he'd been caught a lot because he was compliant as he could be once I got him out of the water. Didn't flop once. I had hell getting the barbed hooks out. I think in the future I'm going to cut the barbs off. That's a pain in the ass. I'd use them if I was trophy fishing or looking for supper... but for this purpose it was just overkill I think.
Anyway... I got him back in the water and he swam off fine... the boys were mystified. I was dumbstruck... and completely satisfied that the outing was an unmitigated success.
I let the boys cast a bit more... and just as I was about to tell them to pack it up... that white pick up truck showed up again.
And boys... this is where the story picks up.
More coming in Part II