Fishing Reels in Memories

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Joanie StiersIt seems ironic that fishing recharges my batteries, considering that it represents the only activity to have sent me to an emergency room.

I was nearly 10 years old at the time, casting for bass in a strip mine lake of Grandpa’s cattle pasture. I insisted that a cast attempt snagged the back of my head. Mom thought that surely my favorite silver minnow lure had intertwined with my hair. Nope. It hooked and set at the base of my skull. I rode with a lure in my head to the barnyard, where no farm tools could safely dislodge the treble hook. A trip to the ER ensued.

Regardless of this event, I love the act of fishing. It represents my reprieve and “sucks the poisons of civilization” out of me. It heals bad days and renews energy, just the way a bayou-loving gentleman noted in an article years ago.

My attempt to pinpoint the intrigue of fishing rather generates many reasons to enjoy the activity beyond the fish themselves. Like the slow pace and serene view of remote waters, almost entirely free of man-made structures and the hum of road traffic. The warm glow of a westward sun on the lake, grasses and trees reflects wall-worthy images in the water’s mirror. Our kids remain content, at one with the outdoors and their fishing poles.

Frogs sing, geese honk and cattails stand in their rigid beauty. We dine out on sandwiches, chips and a home-baked sweet. I’m simply okay with the inconveniences of dew worm gunk and bug spray. And we keep it casual – absolutely no competition or lofty expectations, a must for anyone willing to fish with two kids in a metal-bottomed jon boat.

About the Author

Joanie Stiers, a wife, mother and farm woman, writes from rural West-Central Illinois.

In fact, neither the size nor quantity of catfish, bass or bluegill matter, unless we need fillets for a fish fry. Sure, successful casts improve the enjoyment, particularly for the kids and those of us watching them. But we realize fishing means more than catching fish. Fishing temporarily casts away life’s worries and reels in new memories.

I met my husband on a fishing trip with college friends; you could call him the “catch of my life.” I once fished with just the guys, only to confirm they really do talk about nothing. (And it seemed surprisingly okay.) You observe personalities: Our daughter patiently waits on a bobber. Our son prefers to continuously cast a rubber frog with hooks in its belly.

I will always remember the first time our daughter fished with rod and reel. She held the short, pink rod while my husband attempted to hook the worm. Meanwhile, she spotted a butterfly to chase – with rod in hand. A bloody thumb and a discussion later, fishing resumed. No hospital visits necessary.

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