First cast of the seasonI thought we should stay home. Nine-year-old Jack thought otherwise. The Wisconsin fishing opener was at hand; a day when the angling community celebrates with trips to the lakes, rivers and streams throughout the state. There is always an anticipation of hooking into fish.
By: Darrell Pendergrass, Superior Telegram
I thought we should stay home. Nine-year-old Jack thought otherwise.
The Wisconsin fishing opener was at hand; a day when the angling community celebrates with trips to the lakes, rivers and streams throughout the state. There is always an anticipation of hooking into fish. Sometimes you’re successful, and you catch a few. Sometimes you aren’t. But — usually, almost always — you go. You have to go.
I wasn’t sure because the weather outside looked bad. It looked really bad.
“It’s the fishing opener,” Jack said, with pleading eyes. “We have to go; we just simply have to go.”
At 6 a.m. the little pond outside our front door was white capping; the winds that were howling over the distant pines and across the field threw branches from our big willow tree everywhere. Jack and I stood side-by-side in our boxer shorts and T-shirts contemplating what to do. Should we go? We were looking out the window, with the sun creeping up ever so slowly in the east. Time was running out.
Well, we definitely won’t be taking the boat to where we’ll fish, I thought, I wouldn’t want to risk that. But perhaps we can get out of the wind up on shore, along the point on another certain lake. We can fish from shore, you know, if we just simply have to go. Maybe that’s what we should do.
Dressed in her pajamas my 11-year-old daughter Grace came into the room and sat down in a chair. She covered up with a blanket. “I thought you guys were going fishing?”
“Do you want to go with us?” I asked.
“I’m smarter than that, Dad,” she said, giving us a sour look. “You guys should put on some pants.”
We put on pants and jackets and hats, tossed our gear into the Jeep and headed out. I’d half expected to see a lot of other anglers on the road, their trucks pulling boats to the lake. But the wind — the wind — was crazy wild. The pines and the aspen danced and swayed about in the woods. It might rain at any second. The lakes would be too rough for boats.
But, what about our lake, what would it be like there? It was going to be windy. I was concerned about our chances, and this was probably wasted effort on our parts. Jack was lost in the boyhood world of going fishing; he was happy.
At the lake we put on our waders and went out around the shoreline to where a few bass might be holding. The lake was boiling like a cauldron away from the shore as the wind careened out of control. Big gusts swept around the point; no boats would be on the lake today. Fortunately, on the leeward side of the point the water was relatively calm. In fact, it was just about as flat and perfect as an angler could have prayed for on such a stormy dawn.
OK. We’re here, we’ve got flat water, and we’re out of the wind; we just need a fish. We just need one. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask for — a fish. Please. One fish, we’ll even throw it back. Maybe two fish.
Jack made the first cast of our 2010 Wisconsin fishing season as I looked on. As his offering sailed out from where he stood knee-deep in the water, his lure took with it our hopes and dreams and prayers for a fun-filled summer with days spent on the lake. Tied to his line were our plans for making angling memories that will last a lifetime, of family dinners spent at the table laughing and recalling the events of the day. Youthful fishing means time spent with browned and tanned faces lit by the comforts of being just Dad and Mom and the kids. There won’t be any grownup concerns; there aren’t any fears or worries. There is only us, and these times are fleeting. A first cast carries with it the weight of so much more than simply fishing.
It’s the first cast of the fishing season.
“Fish on!” Jack called out. And he reeled in a nice bass, lipped the fish and held it up for me to see.
We grinned and giggled like little kids. It’s going to be a great summer.
Read more from Darrell Pendergrass at outtherewithdarrell.blogspot.com