Widgets Magazine

Jul 18, 2011

Fishing with Grandpa

Since I spent my weekend camping at the lake with the kids and the grandkids, I’ve spent most of today scratching mosquito bites and remembering past fishing trips mostly with my grandpa. Grandpa (not to be confused with my dad) was my fishing buddy. He was a quiet man and fishing was just right for his personality. We would sit for hours, me sometimes jabbering while he pondered (or maybe he slept, I don’t know, I was too busy talking). Every once in a while he would shush me and tell me I was scaring the fish. Then he would patiently help me re-bait my hook because the cheese had fallen off again.

Sometimes we would fish with worms if Japan and I had managed to get out and catch any. I never liked attaching a real worm to a hook, but Grandpa didn’t mind. Most of the time Japan would come too and it would just be the three of us. Community is about two hundred yards long and maybe sixty of seventy yards wide. Japan thought it was fun to prove that he could cast all the way across the lake. Grandpa would get pretty annoyed with that, telling him that catching weeds isn’t the same as catching fish. Sometimes a little wind would pick up and blow my line over the top of Grandpa’s. He would gripe under his breath as he carefully reeled the lines in, but he never directed those comments at me.

Picture credit
The north end of Community is shallow and full of moss and squishy mud. For a while there was a wooden raft there in the corner. Japan always wanted to take it out in the middle of the lake and pretend we were Tom Sawyer-types. Grandpa refused. I don’t think he knew how to swim and even though Japan and I were strong swimmers, neither one of us ever had life jackets. Thirty-five years later, the fallen trees that made up that raft are still there, marooned at the far end of the lake.

I don’t ever remember going up to the lake and not catching any fish although we probably did. Grandpa taught me to clean the fish and then he would either send them home with me or put them in the smoker. Grandpa made the best smoked trout! Mom was really good at getting all the bones out of the fish, Grandma…not so much. During the summer we ate trout several times a week and we never got tired of it.

Last year the Dog Walker was working on the Fishing Merit Badge. One of the requirements was that he had to catch a fish. So he went fishing with his scout troop and came home with several small perch. My sweetie grew up in small-town Utah and he has often talked about fishing, so I sent him out to clean the fish with the Dog Walker thinking this was a guy thing while I patiently set about making side dishes to serve with his prize. This was obviously a task my sweetie had blocked from his memory, because before he started he had to get on the Internet and look for instructions. I’m not sure who wrote those instructions, but they were definitely different from the way I was taught. As the evening progressed, my sweetie had to take himself out on the porch a couple of times to keep from heaving. Remember I told you yesterday that he had to throw the little fish back? Well…

Anyway, by the time they finished dissecting the perch, it looked more like tuna…from a can! We fried it up anyway and like all perch, it was pretty tasteless. Thank goodness we got a Merit Badge out of it, because at this rate, we weren’t teaching our kids to love the taste of fish.


Natalie Ockey said...

I really like this entry. It reminds me of fishing with Grandpa as well. I think that you may have drastically increased the size of Community, though. I'd have guessed 120 yds long and 30-40 yds wide! Also, only old-time locals call it "Community." It's known throughout the regular world as "Lake Hill."


mommysankey said...

Beautiful post. Love how you recall those moments with grandpa. I too would be heaving while the fish was cleaned... can't fault him there- yuck! Good for your sweetie for catching the fish (don't think I would be able to do that either) I am not a nature gal- sucks for my kids.

Thank you for stopping by Surviving Motherhood.

Helene said...

I loved this post!! It sounds like you have wonderful memories of fishing with your grandfather and now you're creating those same amazing memories for your kids!!!

Prima Donna said...

Im to impatient for foshong and i just dont like fish except for store bought stuff like salmon... i remember when we hadf those fish thank goodness for the store bought tilapia we had with it

LeAnn said...

Oh my I have such a smile on my face; that was an adorable fish story. We fished a lot through the years; but my fondest memories is the time I was fishing with my father and while I went off to play he put a fish on my hook and called to tell me I had one. He was such a precious soul.
Blessings to you today for the fun and the memories.

Arkansas Patti said...

Really neat story. What a patient grandpa you had.
I used to love fishing with my dad out of a skiff in the Keys. Anyone with the patience to fish, has the patience for a child.


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