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Plenty of life lessons learned at the fishing holePosted Monday, August 29, 2011, at 2:03 PM
Some of my most special life moments have been attained with a fishing pole in my hand.
Fishing has taught me to have enough patience to wait for that big one to yank my bait, pull the bobber underwater and give me an exhilarating thrill as I reel it in.
Fishing has taught me to possess the wisdom to realize that the one that got away will probably be there the next time I try my luck at this fishing hole.
Fishing has taught me to be persistent and keep fishing, even when the bluegill, bass, crappie and catfish aren't biting. Or, at least they are not biting with the regularity to satisfy my sportsman's competitiveness need.
Sunday evening, I learned an unforgettable set of life lessons sitting on a pink-colored, wooden picnic table next to a farm pond near Newberry.
I wasn't holding a fishing pole, but watching three family members fish.
Watching and fishing don't usually mix when I have the opportunity to "worm up" a shiny golden hook and try my luck at one of my favorite relaxation pastimes.
My 6-year-old grandson, Xavier, a city boy who has a recent and growing hankering for fishing when he comes to Pops' place to visit, was on such a trip to the farm pond on this day.
Six-year-old boys really don't care if Pops has been suffering from a kidney infection -- and his urinary track is burning like it's been rubbed with habanero peppers then run through by someone who is wearing very sharp golf spikes.
He didn't care that Pops had visited the ER the day before, is on three kinds of meds, and feels like crap.
The boy wants to go fishing.
Pops has everyone convinced that they should just go and have fun on this evening fishing jaunt without him, even though deep down he really wants to go this time.
Fishing trips with these two grandkids will not be happening with frequency in the future.
Grandson Xavier, his mother (my youngster daughter, Stacey), dad (Troy) and older sister, Sydney, are preparing to pack up and move westward to southern California in less than a week.
This might be the last time in a long time that I can take the youngster fishing.
We actually celebrated Sydney's 8th birthday Sunday evening with her favorite meal of fried chicken legs because she'll be gone on her actual September birthday.
The cake and ice cream would wait until after the fishing.
My personal plan not to go ultimately changed, about 90 minutes before sunset when Nana realizes that neither her, my youngster daughter, or Sydney knew how, were brave enough or wanted to remove any fish they might catch from the hooks.
That created a need for old Pops to go along.
So, I agreed to go if I could sit in the car and just watch.
Well, with one box of red wiggler worms in Sydney's hand, we ventured for the short ride to the beautiful pond of a friend.
The sky was blue and laced with puffy clouds. Crickets were chirping and the air smelled good. The lake was relatively calm with only a slight breeze.
Nana caught a near-keeper size bass very quickly -- igniting the excitement that this might be the day the fish were biting. It also got me out of the vehicle to remove the fish from her line and toss it back into the lake.
Xavier hooked a couple pretty nice bluegill and Nana let him reel in a couple more that she snagged.
Sydney and my daughter were also able to land a couple of small bluegill.
My duty as a fish remover was going pretty steady, while I sat and watched and baited a few hooks.
I had to untangle a few twisted lines, which is just a part of fishing.
The number of worms was dwindling as the sun tucked under the horizon.
We agreed that it was time to use one more worm and then we were going home.
Then, the life lesson began.
One by one, the fishing crew retired, put their tackle in the trunk and waited inside the vehicle.
Sydney was still fishing.
We even started the car to try and lure her away from the pond. It didn't matter.
Sydney was still fishing.
You see, she's the competitive one in this clan and younger brother had caught more fish than his older sister. That didn't set well at all.
The light of the day was nearly gone and Sydney could barely see her red and white colored bobber in the still water.
At one point, I told my daughter to back up the Subaru and let the headlights shine out over the water in the direction of her bobber so the determined little girl could at least see if she had a fish bite so we could maybe end this fishing trip.
As I watched, it was humorous, yet inspiring.
We all laughed out loud.
She was swatting bugs away with one hand, but still firmly holding on to her fishing pole with her eyes glued to the water. She didn't care that it was getting dark. There was a fish out there for her to catch and she wanted it.
Syd even swatted herself in the head with the fishing pole on one unsuccessful cast and was standing there crying, but still fishing.
Finally, the uncertainty of fishing won out.
Sydney walked to the car a bit disappointed, without another fish.
She fished her worm down to a final nibble and a fish wasn't able to be hooked.
The little girl had tried with uncanny persistence, patience, determination, competitiveness, but this time it just wasn't meant to be.
She earned a big hug from Pops.
You can't teach those kinds of lessons in a book.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be contacted by telephone at 847-4487 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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