I can remember back as a youngster my older brother loved to go fishing. Often during the summer, he and a few of his friends would go and camp out down by the river and just spend the whole weekend fishing, eating and drinking beers. Several times I was invited but never really was inclined to go and spend a whole weekend getting bit by mosquitoes. I did try it one time though. A friend and I had gotten everything needed to spend a day out on the river bank from fishing poles, bait to snacks and beer. We loaded everything up into his car and set out to go do some serious fishing. We found drove out to the Kankakee River State Park and found a spot down by the river to get set up and fish. We lugged all of our equipment and coolers out to the spot we found and got everything situated and were ready to get started.
I didn’t know anything about fishing. I had no idea of what to do or how to get started. My friend, Willie, was giving me instructions on how to hold the pole and cast the line. After a few tries I got the hang of it and was ready to go when he told me that I first had to bait the hook. He then opened a can that was in one of the coolers to expose a lot of dirt and a bunch of worms. I must have looked like I saw a ghost because he just started laughing and finally asked me, “how did you think we were going to catch the fish without any bait”? I could see then why I didn’t like fishing, because putting worms on the end of a hook was not anything I had in mind. We both had a good laugh on that one, and he finally baited the hook for me. Now, all I had to do was cast off and sit back.
As practiced, I drew the pole back and quickly threw it forward towards the lake. The mistake I made was that I didn’t hold the reel during the drawback and so my hook got tossed into the trees behind us. Willie literally fell on the ground laughing. We ended up having to cut the line because we couldn’t get the hook out of the trees. Now, remember what I said earlier about getting eaten by mosquitoes? I had decided to just sit on a rock and enjoy a beer while Willie did some real fishing. But the mosquitoes had a different idea. It seemed like they had waited until we had gotten comfortable and then decided to show up in droves. It got to the point that we both decided that it was time to call it quits, and we quickly packed up our stuff and drove back to his house where we played some cards and ate our sandwiches we had made and drank the beer.
The one thing I remember most about those days were that I had assured myself that I really wasn’t missing out on too much and was satisfied with getting what fish I did eat at my local McDonalds. Then I met the woman that was to become my wife. One of the things I found out about her early in our relationship is that she and her family LOVE TO FISH! At the time our relationship was getting started, her mom and dad owned a resort in a small town in Wisconsin named Chetek. The resort was on a chain of lakes. Her dad and mom would tell me stories of how they used to take her out on the boat in her stroller while they fished. Every time we would go out to the resort they would go fishing for most of the day, while I would stay back at the resort and watch tv or take a nap.
Eventually I did start to venture out with them just to see what all the fun was about. After several of these trips, I decided that I would give it one more try. But again, I wasn’t about to even pick up the worms they were using which were these little white worms. No sir, I would let my wife do that and hand me the pole to do the fishing. After a while of going through this routine, I caught a fish! Yes, I actually caught a real live fish! I was so excited and with some assistance from my wife was even able to reel it in and of course take a picture. This was the turning point in my life as a fisherman. I was so proud of myself and needless to say, so was my wife as this gave me the “manliness” I needed to start baiting my own hook. Besides, it was taking my wife longer and longer to do it for me. Secretly, I think she was about to quit anyway.
Nowadays I find myself looking forward to going out to Chetek and going fishing. My son loves to go on the boat as well. He has his own tackle box and fishing rod and really looks forward to going to fishing. Although for him, I think he really just likes that his granddad lets him drive the boat.
Well, as I write this it’s almost Memorial Day weekend. And as you are probably guessing by now, I am really looking forward to heading out to Chetek, WI and doing some fishing for some Crappies and Blue Gills. My father in law has this really good breading that he uses to cook up those pan fish and he fries them in butter. They are so delicious. I can’t wait! See you later, I am going to check on my tackle box to make sure I have all of my lures and other fishery stuff!