July 2019: Reader Reply
Share a favorite fishing tale or your favorite place to cast a line!
FISHING WITH GRANDPA
“No,” Grandpa shouted, “that one isn’t big enough.” I looked at the small sunfish at the end of my pole. Quickly, I curled the hook backward, and eased the fish back into the lake.
After my grandfather and I had decided to go fishing that morning, we got out the yellow raft and a mud anchor. “Be careful of the hook,” he said, handing me the long, knobby bamboo pole that was twice as long as I was tall. We walked through the cold, wet grass to the rich-blue lake.
I asked, “Grandpa, do you think I’ll catch any?”
“Maybe so,” he said. “Shoot, I forgot the corn. The sunnies love it! You just throw a handful in the water and watch them come up to eat.” I especially enjoyed watching the corn kernels slowly fall down into the water until a mouth appeared out of the blackness. I eased the raft into the lake, as Grandpa returned with the can of corn. I put the corn-baited hook into the water and waited, eventually catching that sunfish.
“Well, we didn’t get too lucky today,” Grandpa said after a nonproductive time of fishing.
“Yeah,” I replied, “they just weren’t big enough.”
“That’s all right,” he said. “The big ones just weren’t hungry.” More than 40 years later, my grandfather is gone, but I still love fishing! And luckily, some fish are “big and hungry enough!”
Member of McLean Electric Cooperative
FISHING IN CITY LIMITS
My 6-year-old son loves to fish, but we don’t have a lake place, a boat or a lot of free time, so we don’t get out on the water as much as he’d like. I was happy (and frankly, a little stunned) to realize that Brooks Harbor Pond is just a few miles from our house, right off Sheyenne Street in the West Fargo city limits.
Now, he can fish for perch (which are stocked every spring) from the shore as long as he wants, then plays at the playground when he’s done. It’s the perfect mid-week break for both of us.
Alicia Underlee Nelson
Cass County Electric Cooperative
A SECOND CHANCE
We were at our cabin at Crystal Springs Lake, when I went to the dock to fish.
All of a sudden, my line jerked. I reeled the fish up to the dock. It was too big for the net, so I tried pulling it onto the dock. At the last minute, it twisted, hit the metal on the side of the dock and got off my hook.
I went and told my husband, Larry, about the big fish that got away, then decided to fish some more. About an hour later, I had a hard jerk on my line again. As I reeled it in, I kept backing up and got the fish pulled onto the bank.
It was the same fish, as you could see the mark on its side where it hit the side of the dock earlier. I never thought I would get a second chance of catching it.
It weighed 20 pounds and was 42 inches long. It is mounted in our cabin, with the daredevil spoon I caught it with hanging from its mouth.
It was my best day of fishing.
Member of KEM Electric Cooperative
THE FIRST CATCH
When my daughter was 5 years old, she received her first “real” fishing pole for her birthday. We were in the boat, enjoying the beautiful day. We hadn’t caught a single fish, when she asked me to show her how to cast with her new pole. We put a small spoon onto the line, to which my husband claimed, “You can’t catch anything on that.” Then I showed her how to hold the pole and cast. With a little help, she reached back over her shoulder, swung the pole forward and let the line go at just the right time. It only went out a few feet, but it was a beautiful cast!
As she began reeling, she started complaining that it was too heavy. Thinking the line was stuck on some weeds, I told her to keep reeling. Suddenly, a fish jumped out of the water in a perfect shimmering arc! Our jaws dropped! She caught the first and only fish of the day, a black crappie, 10 feet from the boat, on her first cast with her first “real” fishing pole! A perfect memory!
Member of Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative
Teaching a child to fish can be both a triumph and a trial. There is that moment when your heart skips a beat in sheer horror as you witness yet another hook whip past someone’s face. With three children between 4 and 6 years old who loved to fish, my husband and I had our work cut out for us.
We had somehow survived this particular fishing trip with only a few hooks in a sleeve or fishing cap, when we noticed something was amiss. Our daughter, who was notorious for the wildest casting, wasn’t even holding her rod anymore. Instead, she was staring at the water, mesmerized by the rod that was slowly sinking into the lake. She was so startled to have caught a fish that, in her excitement, she let go of the rod! But the story doesn’t end there. Of course, we had to purchase a new rod for our next fishing adventure.
This rod came with a blue rubber weight, which we never replaced with a hook. She was delighted with the “pretty blue sinker” and we were just as thrilled with one less hook to dodge.
So, when we went out the next time, we smiled and humored her when she exclaimed she had a fish. Much to our surprise, that “pretty blue sinker” had a fish attached to it! Unfortunately, we were “busted” the moment we retrieved the fish, as our three children realized there was no hook. The outcome? We were back to dodging hooks, as our kids became diligent in checking to see that their rods were, in fact, properly outfitted to bring in the next keeper.
Member of Verendrye Electric Cooperative
UPCOMING READER REPLY QUESTION:
AUGUST: North Dakota’s electric cooperatives sponsor Youth Tour, a leadership experience in Washington, D.C., each year for local youth. Share your memories of a trip that changed your life.
Submission deadline: July 10
SEPTEMBER: What’s your favorite piece of North Dakota history?
Submission deadline: Aug. 9
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