02 March 2012

Gone Fishing

Robert leaving rowboat with 
his catch of fish, mid-1930s.
Welcome back. I’m not winning awards for progress on scanning old photos, but sorting through the piles, I saw one of my father, hands full of fish. I got sidetracked, thinking about how I’m supposed to go fishing now that I’m retired. 

You don’t have to be retired to go fishing of course. About ten years ago, a colleague surprised me by inviting me to go fishing. I didn’t think anyone I knew around here did that sort of thing. Fishing to me belonged in another lifetime.
Growing Up with a Fishing Rod
Everyone fished or hunted or both when I grew up in Upstate New York. I was close to the action. Along with automobile supplies and toys, my father’s store carried sporting goods, including everything except bait for freshwater fishing and a small selection of rifles and ammunition.
For at least a short time, you could even buy your state fishing license at the store. I mention that only to remove the difficulty of obtaining a license as the reason I stopped fishing at age 16, when I would have needed a license. I just had other interests.
Warren and his mother, 
ecstatic to be out there
in the rowboat fishing 
with his father, late-1940s.
My father loved to fish. He would go out in a rowboat with friends or family or alone. I accompanied him more than once, but when I was young, I wasn’t quite ready for all that sitting, waiting, watching…Oh! Oh! A bite…lost it. No, it’s still there. What a nice sunfish! Get the hook out quick and let it loose.

They were only sunfish, but I caught them. Once in a while, he’d let me keep them. They should have been mounted. 

My father liked the taste of perch and wouldn’t hesitate to keep any that were big enough. I went out alone once and saw some really big perch in shallow water. They were busy monitoring what I guess were breeding beds and wouldn’t bite even if I bounced a drowned worm off their heads.

We didn’t fish when the sun was directly overhead. I’m not sure he really believed the fish would see us and not bite or whether he just wanted to break for lunch. We would fish in the evening occasionally. Some nights, all around the boat, fish would be jumping after flies. Using worms or lures was almost pointless if you weren’t fly-fishing, which we weren’t.
Warren, between mother and 
brother, holding what looks like 
a sunfish and a father- caught
largemouth bass, late-1940s.

Worms for Fishing

A few neighborhood boys and I decided we would make our fortune selling worms as bait. Going out with a flashlight to catch nightcrawlers was always productive, especially after a rain, but the real fishermen wanted earthworms--2 cents for each nightcrawler, 3 cents for each earthworm.

We filled a metal wash tub with a burlap bag, soil and coffee grounds, and added a handful of earthworms from someone’s garden. We hoped they would go forth and multiply. They probably did, but by that time, I’d already left for the summer, fortuneless.

Father’s Fish Story

One fine June morning, my father went out alone and was thrilled to catch a 5 pound bass! What a dilemma! Bass season didn’t open until the following day.

Now that the statute of limitations and he have both passed, I’ll tell you that he kept the fish…hid it in the boat, rowed swiftly to shore, and evaded onlookers and the authorities while getting the fish from boat to stove.

My Fish Story

During the season, I too went out on my own. I cast my favorite lure, a Jitterbug, into the lily pads. Reeling it in slowly, I felt the line tighten. I yanked. The fish jumped, clearing the water’s surface. I caught the fish without tipping or falling out of the boat and without a net--a 2-pound, largemouth bass. Well, it was almost 2 pounds.

Wrap Up

Take your son fishing; bond. My wife decided she would. After she came home with a packaged reel, pole, line, hook and more, I agreed to join them at a local pond. Watching as they tried unsuccessfully to cast from shore, I, the catcher of an almost 2-pound bass, stepped forward to demonstrate.

I never did figure how the darn reel worked. I doubt my son ever went fishing again.

Thanks for a stopping by. I’ll write again in about a week. Before that, you might like to take a look at the Philippine slides I’ve scanned for next week’s photo addendum.
The URL of this blog is now: www.Retired--NowWhat.com. If you are linked to or land on the former (blogspot) URL, you’ll be forwarded here, so not to worry. If you do make the change, however, don’t forget the dashes or you’ll end up elsewhere.

1 comment:

  1. 02 03 12

    When Bob was about 8 I took him pickerel fishing at my favorite spot on the shore of Flagstaff Lake. (western Maine)

    I showed him how to tie the plug, cast, and reel in the plug. A couple of demos from Dad, and now it's your turn. I also noticed he wasn’t exactly sharing my enthusiasm.

    Anyway, he was a good learner, and got off a nice cast, plopping it down in an open patch surrounded by pickerel weed.

    BANG! A huge pickerel hit it, Bob played it in, and I took the plug out of the monster’s mouth. I looked at him, proud and expectant, waiting for his next cast.

    He looked at me, and said "OK, can we go home now?"