Been There, Done That by Laura Nethken

Published:

I just had my first fishing trip of the season and it went pretty much like it always does -- not a lot of fish for me or anyone else in the bunch, for that matter.

We started out down on The Point. By the time I got down there, and got the hardened bits of fake bait from my last fishing trip off the hook with my pocket knife, they were heading for a different fishing spot.

We went in the back to The Points. Cool. I usually have pretty good luck there. Not this time. Nary a bite on the first one. The second one was all overgrown and a challenge to get to the end where I had a little bit of casting room. Nothing doing there, either.

I decided to branch out on my own and walked about 30 yards away around the lakeshore. And bam! On my first cast, I caught a fish. Without my gloves anywhere in sight. Which really was no big deal because I'd have needed at least three more beers before I'd have even thought of taking the fish off the hook by myself. So I held the pole out in front of me with the fish dangling there, spinning in circles for all it was worth, until I got back to my oldest son.

The fish made a loud "smack!" as it hit the water, which probably didn't do much for its day. With all that spinning, it was probably dizzy as all get-out and about ready to throw up.

I baited my hook and went straight back to my spot. Maybe I could catch that one's mom or dad or even just a big brother. Something I could contribute to the bucket. The next cast I got a bite, but all I did was lose my bait. And in my rush to get back to my spot, I hadn't considered that possibility and failed to bring any with me. So, I walked all the way back over to the truck, reloaded my hook and stuck a bunch of fake maggots in my pocket for next time.

And the kids were ready to move again. Okey, dokey. The next spot was another of my favorites, but sadly the only thing I caught was an underwater log. Great. Another bobber down the tubes and I'll have to put another hook on my line, etc., etc.

One of the boys said to just keep pulling on it and it'll come loose. I pulled and tugged, jerked it this way and that. Still stuck. He grabbed my pole, gave it one good yank and handed it back to me. Good to go. Thanks, I guess.

I walked back to the rest of the gang and was about to join them in drowning my fake maggot when the youngest of our group, at the ripe old age of 4, tripped and fell flat on his belly.

My maternal instincts haven't dulled any as I raced over and helped him back up. He was crying, understandably so, his little arms were all scraped up. But it wasn't the pain that caused his tears. "I dropped my cookie. It was my first one. I just got started," he wailed.

So the little boy, his dad, me and my son searched the ground in vain for the lost mini chocolate chip cookie. Good thing he had six or eight more in that little bag.

His dad doctored up his scrapes and I offered to take him up on the hill with me to our camper while I worked on making lunch. He thought that was a grand idea and boasted of being a "pretty good cooker" himself. Mostly what he did was make himself a jelly sandwich after using about a quart of dishsoap to wash his hands. Not that that was necessary. He'd barely touched his fishing pole, let alone a fish.

He might have lent me a hand after the sandwich except I opened the refrigerator door and heard "Hey, is that a pudding cup?" Sure is.

By the time lunch was done, even the most diehard fishermen in the bunch were ready to call it a day. They came home with a few fish in the bucket, none with my name on them. And I came home with a pocketful of fake bait.

Copyright 2014 Laura Nethken

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