Happiness is a big fish and a witness

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fishing rod
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

My teenage son has fallen in love. Well, it’s not exactly “head over heels” kind of love, it’s more like “hook, line and sinker” amore.

Falling for fishing

He has fallen fast for any and all types of fishing. It’s the first thing he thinks of in the morning as he plans his day. In the evening, he rushes through dinner to dart off to the lake. He lists off all the places he can fish: the lake, the pond, in the creek or maybe a reservoir. The kid that couldn’t think of a science report topic rattles off no less than 10 ideal fishing locations.

The easiest and closest place to fish is the bridge over the creek right down our road. It’s the same spot his dad, uncle and great-grandpa fished as boys. He and his brother watch the schools of rock bass and bluegill swim in the gentle currents, a school of eight to 10 is not unusual to see.

They drop their line in the shaded areas and watch with an eagle’s eye view. A six-inch sucker fish is a trophy fish this day. Finding real worms was too difficult in the dry dirt in the heat of summer. It was indeed a “sucker” for a fake worm.

When my oldest walks farther, he can fish in his great-grandpa’s stocked fishing lake. In his retirement years, his great-grandpa had stocked it with bass, perch, catfish and some white amurs. Kayaks and a small pontoon boat add to the allure of a fishing adventure at the lake.

My boys experiment with different types of bait: live minnows, jigs and tadpoles. The best thing about letting his younger brother come fishing is that he will do all the grunt work just to be a part of the fishing trip. Younger brother isn’t old enough to run the motor all the time, but he’s very well-suited to pull algae off the motor. A task that is also entertaining when he splashes into the lake head first.

Fishing with friends

In my son’s opinion, the only thing better than fishing is fishing with friends. He met up with his best friend to fish at Deer Creek Reservoir. They explored a small part of the 314 acres by kayak. The two friends cast out lines as they explored the nooks along the edge of the reservoir. Trees that form a canopy along the shore were snagged repeatedly.

The downfall about fishing with friends is that it is too easy to become distracted. It was difficult for him to feel the slightest pull on his line while stealthily attempting to capsize his buddy. The two boys comprised a much younger version of Grumpy Old Men as the mighty “Catfish Hunter” triumphantly swam away that day. Instead of eating a fish dinner, they were a delicious feast to hundreds of hungry mosquitoes. The lesson learned was that the activity itself is more important than the catch of the day.

Family fishing boat

When a whole day outing is an option, without hesitation our fishing boat is the first choice. As a young girl, my dad took me out fishing in the same boat. Most of the time I wanted to read a book while enjoying the gentile sway of the waves.

When the time came that I was interested in fishing, my dad told me if I was going to fish I had to put the bait on the hook myself. I can handle the bait, but I still squeal when I have to use the pliers to pull a hook out of a fish. Luckily for me, my son has now taken over that task.

Mosquito Lake and Lake Milton are his local favorites. At Mosquito Lake, a change in depth makes the old roadbed near the cemetery a great place to catch crappie, perch and bass. Pleasant views all around Lake Milton make fishing enjoyable even when the fish aren’t biting. Someday it won’t be walleye and bass that turn his head.

When it happens, I hope it’s a girl who was taught by her dad to put on her own bait and who enjoys the sway of an old fishing boat. I don’t want to open that can of worms yet; that time will come soon enough. For now, I am going to enjoy these endless summer days of fishing that make us both “reel” happy.

A wise fisherman once said, “Happiness is big fish, and a witness.” I couldn’t be happier with the honor of being that witness.

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Julie Geiss lives with her husband and four children in Unity Township, Ohio. Faith and family are first in her life, but she also loves hiking, biking and camping. You can contact Julie at juliegeiss1414@gmail.com.

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