I can't recall how Ken and I began the conversation about fishing, but I couldn't help but recall some very sweet memories of my late Father, Jack.
Oh how I loved to go fishing with him. And oh how he loved to fish! He saw his way through many fishing boats while I grew up... his Champion was always his favorite though.
Our fishing trips always began VERY early. Usually around 5 AM, we would wake up to get things ready. I would be responsible for making the bologna/ cheese/ mustard sandwiches, while Dad got the cooler loaded with lots of pop and water. We'd set out at dawn and arrive at one of his many favorite lakes to fish, just in time!
He had a knack for backing those boats in! He always did it just right. He'd back it in, just so far (to where the tailpipe of his truck was under water and making bubbles with a fury). He would then throw the truck in park, get out of the truck to walk back to the boat. He pushed the boat off the trailer into the water, getting himself soaked up to his waist. He'd tie it off and say, "Hold it tight, Goose". And that's what I did. He'd return, shortly after parking the truck and trailer in a nearby lot. And that's when the adventures began.
He always knew the spots to find them... Bass, Blue Gill, Walleye.. you name it, we caught it.
One fishing trip will always come to mind. I can't recall the lake we fished, but I remember something very comical happened. We had been fishing all day and it was around 2:00 pm. I was bored. I had given up on casting because the fish weren't biting. So I retreated to the front of our tiny boat so I could get some sun, while listening to my walkman... yes, walkman. No iPods back then!
Anyway, he had brought his new rod n' reel that he ordered from Cabella's. He hadn't used it yet but was certainly looking forward to it... he told me he was waiting for the perfect spot to use it for the very first time. He looked at me, sunbathing and said, "Hey Goose, cast a few... I'll bet you'll get a bite". So I reluctantly picked up my pole. I drew it back and threw it out there in the open water. What a HUGE splash it made! Hmmmmm, why the huge splash you ask? Well, that's because my lure had caught Dad's BRAND NEW rod n' reel by the line & I just cast it into the deep open water. I was speechless. He turned around, so excited by the splash... most likely thinking I had caught "the big one". I slowly turned back to meet his elated face, only to inform him that his beloved rod n' reel, that had NEVER been used, was now at the bottom of the lake.
He didn't care one bit. He basically gave the whole, "Oh well, no big deal" so not to make me feel bad. He didn't walk away that easy though. He eagerly jumped in the water (the fish finder said we were around 5 ft deep), and began sweeping his foot along the lake floor... searching for the rod n' reel. After 10 minutes of looking... and him swallowing water from stepping into drop-offs, he gave up and got back into the boat. I felt so bad. He didn't dwell on it... but I did.
I thought the least I could do was to continue to fish along side of him to know that the day wasn't a complete waste. So I casted a few more... but got nothing.
With my last cast, I threw it right toward the cast that tossed the rod n' reel. I let the line sink and began to reel. "I got something! I got something!" I squealed! He turned around and said "Nice and easy... nice and easy."
The "catch" got about 10 feet away from the boat and I started to wonder why the fish wasn't putting up a fight. Why wasn't I pulling back as hard as usual?! And then it surfaced.
I had caught... the rod n' reel.
We. Were. Speechless. I mean, what are the odds of something like that happening?!?!
We laughed the rest of the day, the whole way home and well into the future about that day. And no, it's by no means a "fisherman's tale". It happened, and it is our memory to have forever.
I love you Daddy. I want you to know that I see you in Ava, every day.