Monday, July 23, 2012

A fish story...


     Hot doesn't even begin to describe it...This wasn't just your run of the mill early July weather...This was that oppressive, thick, damp heat. The kind that takes your breath and makes you sweat without without moving an inch or lifting a finger. The kind that causes everything to wither and curl. The trees, corn, tobacco and beans are showing the effects of the prolonged heat wave and dry weather. Literally 100 degrees in the shade and to make matters worse, the central air had been zapped by a lightning strike during last night's pop up storm...My nerves were on edge and the prospect of coughing up thousands to replace the A/C unit had my already short fuse burning fast!

      The inside temperature wasn't much relief...The termostat read 87 degrees in the living room. Cold showers helped and the idea of lying perfectly still on the couch surrounded by fans and ice packs and a cold glass of tea seemed the rational thing to do. But, then there's the issue of two 14 year old boys being here and being 14 year old boys, they didn't care if it was 20 degrees or 100! They were bored and asked if we could go fishing...Fishing in this weather???

      We loaded the rods and tackle boxes and headed to one of my favorite ponds. By the time we walked the couple hundred yards to the pond, my shirt was soaked with sweat and I was re-thinking the prospect of lying on the fan blown couch and second guessing my decision to go fishing...

      The two teens spread out around the pond and I made my way along the dam and cast next to the mats of floating moss...Locusts and peepers singing and an occasional bullfrog would chime in. The air was thick and not the slightest hint of a breeze... “Maybe the fish won't bite and the boys will be ready to call it an evening and we can leave soon”, I thought to myself...just then, a small bass took my Rapala and fought hard as I reeled him in. The boys started to enjoy some success as well as the heat didn't seem to bother the little bass as they eagerly struck their baits.

      The boys and I talked back and forth across the pond and gradually, the thoughts of replacing my air conditioner and money drifted from my mind. Even the heat seemed tolerable as we cast and reeled and laughed and swatted bugs away from our faces...As I knelt to change lures and looked out at my son and his buddy, I almost felt guilty for not wanting to take them fishing...this is the kind of stuff that boyhood is made of and in today's world, too little fishing between fathers and sons and friends goes on...

      Evening is turning to night and we'll have to pack it in soon. A few more casts to be made. A likely looking patch of cattails...My Culprit worm is flipped into the water and as it settles into the depth, a slight tug on the line. I can immediately feel some heft to the fish and a quick flick of the wrist and the hook is set deep! The big bass makes a hard run and peels line from the bait caster as the rod bends...I yell to the boys that it's a good one, not completely sure that they believe me or not. The fight continues for a minute or two and the big ol' girl is hoisted on the bank. I hold her up and the boys yell their approval with hoots and holloring and I'm amazed at the size of the fish in my hands. The largest bass of I've ever caught. My fist is easily swallowed by the huge mouth as I remove the hook. She's a hair over 24 inches long and I can only imagine how much the big gal would've weighed a couple months ago when filled with eggs before she spawned...A few photos were nabbed and I quickly released her back into the warm water and as she swims away, I think to myself that I'm glad I chose the boys and the pond and the heat over the couch and the fans and iced tea...