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Fishing Tales

Joined: 6/22/2011
Posts: 293
Yes, I’m retired. No, I don’t care to go fishing. Fishing is filed away in another lifetime.

Everyone fished or hunted or both when I was growing up in Upstate New York. I was close to the action. Along with automobile supplies and toys, my father’s store carried sporting goods, including everything except bait for freshwater fishing.

For at least a short time, you could even buy your state fishing license at the store. I mention that only to remove the difficulty of obtaining a license as the reason I stopped fishing at age 16, when I would have needed a license. I just had other interests.

Fishing with My Father

My father loved to fish. He would go out in a rowboat with friends or family or alone. I accompanied him more than once, but when young, I wasn’t quite ready for all that sitting, waiting, watching…Oh! Oh! A bite…lost it. No, it’s still there. What a nice sunfish! Get the hook out quick and let it loose.

They were only sunfish, but I caught them. Once in a while, he’d let me keep them. They should have been mounted.

We didn’t fish when the sun was directly overhead. I’m not sure he really believed the fish would see us and not bite or whether he just wanted to break for lunch. We would fish in the evening occasionally. Some nights, all around the boat, fish would be jumping after flies. Using worms or lures was futile if you weren’t fly-fishing, which we weren’t.

Worms for Fishing

A few neighborhood boys and I decided we would make our fortune selling worms as bait. Going out with a flashlight to catch nightcrawlers was always productive, especially after a rain, but the real fishermen wanted earthworms--2 cents for each nightcrawler, 3 cents for each earthworm.

We filled a metal wash tub with a burlap bag, soil and coffee grounds, and added a handful of earthworms from someone’s garden. We hoped they would go forth and multiply. They probably did, but by that time, I’d already left for the summer, fortuneless.

Catching the Big Ones

One fine June morning, my father went out alone and was thrilled to catch a 5 pound bass! What a dilemma! Bass season didn’t open until the following day.

Now that the statute of limitations and he have both passed, I’ll tell you that he kept the fish…hid it in the boat, rowed swiftly to shore, and evaded onlookers and the authorities while getting the fish from boat to stove.

During the season, I too went out on my own. I cast my favorite lure, a Jitterbug, into the lily pads. Reeling it in slowly, I felt the line tighten. I yanked. The fish jumped, clearing the water’s surface. I caught the fish without tipping or falling out of the boat and without a net--a 2-pound, largemouth bass. Well, it was almost 2 pounds.

Wrap Up

Take your son fishing; bond. My wife decided she would. After she came home with a packaged reel, pole, line, hook and more, I agreed to join them at a local pond. Watching as they tried unsuccessfully to cast from shore, I, the catcher of an almost 2-pound bass, stepped forward to demonstrate.

I never did figure how the darn reel worked. I doubt my son ever went fishing again.
Copyright 2012 by Warren R. Philipson. All Rights Reserved. A version of this blog post appeared on, 2 March 2012.
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Comment by Suzanne

Joined: 1/2/2012
Posts: 118
Warren, I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon than by reliving long ago memories. Dig a few worms and treat yourself. My father would have kept that 5 pound bass also. Wish he were here to take me fishing just one more time.
Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 1:37:19 AM
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