Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Stick Fishing

My illegal fishing escapade took place the year I turned eleven. We went on a hunting trip, staying in a nice cabin with several ponds upstream. One day, while everyone else hunted, I stayed behind. I ached to catch some of the huge fish in the ponds. The pools had almost dried up, with only a foot or two of water left. Off I went, with my pole and tackle box, convinced I would return with record-breakers.

I fished, and I fished. I lost lures, snagged hooks, and wasted bait. My hook dangled sumptuous worms inches from the trouts' mouths, with no response. Frustration mounted. I could reach out and touch these monstrous, shimmering fish. But how to catch one? An idea formed. The muddy banks sucked at my feet until I found a waterlogged stick, the size of a baseball bat. I trudged back through the muck to where the fish hovered, mocking me. Determined to win, I proceeded to assail the fish with my new weapon. Water splashed, mud flew…. And I conquered.

I returned to the cabin with two fine specimens, so heavy I could barely carry them. I proudly showed them to my mother. She eyed them with surprise, and asked how I managed to catch them. I regaled her with the story; how I had tried so hard to catch the fish doomed to die in the rapidly shrinking pools; and how they refused to let me help them. Earnest, I described how I had used my stick to convince them. She couldn’t hold back a smile, but explained we have legal ways to catch fish…and not-so-legal ways. I haven’t clubbed any fish since. A good thing, because the man she married soon after that worked as a game warden for thirty years.