"LOOKIN' back about 20 years"
We were pretty well cramped up in the cab of my old Ford pick-up truck. Grandsons Nathan, age 8 and Kyle, age 10, were doubled up, strapped in a single seat belt while my big lab pup was snuggled into what little space he could find at the kids' feet, being a surprisingly good boy. Blink must have felt that this day he'd have to refrain from his childish stuff because he was outnumbered by the real kids.
The 50-mile jaunt to our fishing pond went without any hitches, as the kids' exuberance was just bubbling over and even the "Blinkster" was into the scene of having a lot of laughs. There were none of those little kid's spats that brothers often have. The boat banged over a few rocks (no damage except for a few paint scrapes) into the tranquil little pond and the 4.5 Merc started on the second pull.
"This is going to be an awesome day," I thought, somehow subconsciously waiting for the second shoe to fall.
Nate has an unquenchable thirst for fishing, while Kyle has a hard time showing enthusiasm for most of the things that Nate likes, but this day Kyle was really into this fishing business. We were going to troll small minnow type plugs in hope of catching a few brown or rainbow trout. Kyle was insistent on learning about his fishing rod and reel, right off the bat, so that he could "do it myself."
"Gramp, how do you tell when you have a bite?" "No problem, Kyle, they'll really jerk on the rod." "Hey Dick, I've got one!" Kyle soon yelled and by the look on his face and the rod bouncing, there was no doubt in our minds that he did. Soon a nice fat rainbow was brought to net and placed in our fish bag. Then Nate caught a nice brown and Kyle had to face the devastation of bringing in a fighting rainbow and losing him right at the boat. I think in that moment, maybe the spark of a real fisherman in Kyle was lit, because after a minute of sour puss and disappointment, a new spirit of determination set in.
We had steady fishing, with even gramp getting a chance to hook a fish or two. These trout were especially feisty. We'd loose one for every one that was landed. We all had a big laugh when Kyle caught a little smallmouth bass that was hardly as big as the lure he was using. We all marveled at the beauty of that little fish before releasing him back to grow. Blink was just as well behaved and excited about the fishing as the rest of us. When we had a fish on, he could feel the excitement of the rest of us and would be all eyes, watching the fish's every move. He would really get pumped up when a trout would jump near the boat. His only aggressiveness towards the fish caught was an occasional lick when one happened to swing past him.
We took a little noon-time break on shore in a secluded place, where we could stretch our legs and Blink and Nate could do a little wading. The sun was hot enough to soon dry out the clothes and to make a grandfather a little drowsy.
We only had an hour or so left to fish, because of baseball practice, so we went right back to "Kyle's Cove" were we had caught most of the fish. We quickly had a few more fish added to the net bag.
"Don't put your line back out, Kyle," I laughed at Kyle.
"Why not, Dick?"
"You've caught your limit."
Kyle got thinking and counting out loud and was soon to admit that he indeed had caught and kept seven fish. This isn't our usual goal when fishing, most often we set a personal limit that is less than the legal limit or release all of the trout caught, but I guess the enthusiasm of the day and all of the excitement had caused us to omit that important step, but it was a good lesson to Kyle that obeying the laws is a good thing.
He was so caught up in this new love for fishing that it didn't matter to him, and more importantly he wasn't bragging to Nate and me about catching more than we did.
How could the day end on a perfect note? I'll tell you!
The public boat ramp into this pond is non-existent. One of the typical shortcomings of fishing in many of New Hampshire's ponds. A big yellow power company truck was coming down the road as we landed the boat. The two big husky CO-OP workers jumped out and lent a hand without any hesitation, and we whipped that 14-footer onto the trailer in record time. This is a little more of a favor than one might think, as one grandfather with a bad ticker and two young kids have a real struggle under these circumstances. Thank you Mike Eldredge and Don Davis. And make sure you show up around quitting time again.
Now it's my time with those kid's children. We already have had many pleasant days out fishing with Kyle Jr. and his brother, Colby. Now we also have a youngster, Hunter, that has been ice fishing with his dad Nate and me. Hunter complained that "Grampy Dickie" got to take home more fish than he did. Which is a case of "Age has it's privileges."
And the beat goes on!
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.