Mail Call: Letters to the Editor — July/August 2017

Readers’ letters to the editors with stories of fishing and family, and tips on gardening.

| July/August 2017

  • Nebraska Dave has fished in all different bodies of water: both oceans, many different states, and Canada, to name a few.
    Photo by Nebraska Dave

Hooked For Life

Fishing has been a lifelong desire of mine. It all started around age 5. My grandfather on my mother’s side of the family took me fishing. Back then, casting an open bait-casting reel took incredible skill to prevent a gnarly rat nest from appearing in the fishing line. So my grandfather would throw the bait out into the lake. It was fascinating to watch the line fly off the reel as the handle whirled backwards at a blinding speed. Then, just a split-second before the bait hit the water, his thumb would act as a brake to the spinning reel. It took me many years and countless snarls to perfect that technique.

With a little instruction, my fishing career began. The sensation of anticipation — which I never lost over the years — built up with every turn of the reel. When that first fish popped up out of the water and dangled on the end of the line, it was the most exciting thing a 5-year-old boy could experience with his grandpa. The first catch was a yellow-belly bullhead. I caught hundreds more in the following years, but that first bug-eyed fish with horns and feelers still stays with me. Anytime I got a whiff of anyone going fishing, I would somehow weasel my way along.

Catching the fish started the journey, but cleaning the fish enhanced the experience. The first time I watched someone fillet a fish, I knew I just had to learn how to do that. It was at a cleaning table when a couple of old fishermen came in with a 10-gallon bucket full of perch. They cleaned a perch in the blink of an eye, like it was no big deal. Both Dad and I asked for instruction on how to do that. The next time we traveled off on a fishing trip with our filleting knives securely packed, we were ready to look like experts.

As the years passed, I fished in all different bodies of water: both oceans, many different states, and Canada, to name a few. The ocean fishing put bonito and flounder on my list. Wisconsin added monster walleye, and high-altitude Nevada produced the best-tasting trout. Bluegill, sunfish, pumpkin seed, crappie, large- and small mouth bass all put fishing above all other pastimes in my life.

It’s been a great journey, and the best part is that it’s not over yet.


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