Nothing whets the intelligence more than a passionate suspicion, nothing develops all the faculties of an immature mind more than a trail running away into the dark. ~Stefan Zweig
Youth fishing was last Saturday. Did we take Kyle? You bet we did. He really does love fishing. Hunting he could take it or leave it, and over the last couple years he left it, (I know he’ll be back) yet fishing has always remained.
I too like to fish, although if I had my choice I’d much rather hunt. Why? Simply because in hunting season, I like to walk around the woods, pushing deer or just roaming around. I like being among the trees, I feel at home. Fishing is great, but sitting for long hours isn’t my thing, not to mention, I have a serious aversion to mosquitoes, which always accompany the riverbanks and lakes and warm weather.
Ryan loved fishing, and hunting too. It seemed he did more fishing, but perhaps that’s due to the longer season. Usually he fished with dad, his friends, friends of the family and my uncle and cousins. He fished!
It’s nice to see Kyle having something in common with his Dad, especially one that my Dad, Kyle’s Pappy, enjoys as much.
Every time I think of Ryan fishing, the image of him drowning comes to mind. On one such fishing excursion to the local creeks, Uncle Sonny took Ryan and I believe my two cousins, Chad and Jeremy. I’m sure there was a group of them, but I don’t remember. Naturally, they were wearing waders, you know those rubber overalls. I guess Ryan tripped or slipped or something and fell into the water. Many times when that happens, depending on the speed of the creek and the position of the person in the water etc., the water can drag a person down and create a suction effect. Ultimately, drowning the unfortunate fisherman. From what I remember of the stories told, that’s what happened to Ryan, who never liked water in his face and was a panicky swimmer anyway. Scary stuff! Uncle Sonny had to pull him up out of the water, essentially saving his life. I don’t know if he was really on the brink of death, or Ryan just panicked, but it happened.
I’m never worried about Kyle and water. I know things can happen, and quickly, but Kyle doesn’t have a sense of panic in the water. I’ve had him in swimming lessons since he was little, around five or six. He went once a week until he was about twelve or so. He LOVED his swimming days. He used to draw pictures of the pool at the YMCA, and include his name on one side of this blue area on the paper, and the capital letter H on the other side, where I sat watching him. I took him when he went from the small pool and graduated to the big pool, from the shallow end to the ultimate depths of the water. He loved diving deep underwater. In fact, he loved being completely submerged. Kyle is very secure with his swimming abilities, as am I.
This past Saturday, would have been a very cold day to make contact with the water. Dad and I took Kyle fishing, with the many other little munchkins lining the Loyalhanna Creek with their batman and barbie fishing pools. Dad and I got a chuckle out of that, too cute! It wasn’t that long ago Kyle was there, but now he’s graduated to the adult size reel and pole. Come to think of it, I believe Kyle took my Dad’s fishing pole on Saturday. He’s too much!
Dad and I were permitted to catch and release, but I didn’t want to. I preferred watching Kyle fish. He was only allowed to catch two trout, but hey, it was the experience I enjoyed.
Now the typical Kyle we’ve all grown to know and love, or at least accept. While getting ready to leave, I told him it was really cold out and it would be colder down by the creek. Kyle’s response, “I’ll be fine.” Ignoring him and knowing better, I gave him long underwear. He gave me a look of “Ya right” but actually dressed in the set, while only adding jeans and a t-shirt. Although, he did take my thickest hoodie. I asked him, do you want a pair of gloves? Kyle’s response, “No, I’ll be fine.” Then I stated, “Kyle I want you to wear a hat or something over your ears.” After he rolled his eyes at me, he responded, “I’ll be fine.” Right! I know I’ve been mistaken for being psychic, but honestly I’ve been through this same scenario many times before.
We get to the creek and choose a seat on the wall, overlooking the water. No more than twenty minutes passed, and Kyle started complaining how cold he was. He wasn’t exaggerating either, I could tell he was really cold. Mostly he complained about his hands being frozen, go figure. “Kyle, do you want my gloves?” Without hesitation and without modesty, he answerd “Okay!”. So there went my hunting gloves. They’re warm too! They’re the kind of gloves with the cut out fingers for mobility, and the tops flip up into mittens for complete fleece warmth. Awesome gloves! I actually did prepare for Kyle asking for my gloves, and I brought a spare pair of snowboarding gloves, however they were back at the car. No worries, I kept my hands in my hunting coat and I was toasty.
A child down the creek from us, caught a really nice sized trout, but no luck on our side. It’s funny, Dad really enjoyed watching the boy reel in his fish and get excepted over his catch. He was so happy for that child! Kyle, didn’t really care. He only kept commenting on how cold it was and was hinting around of leaving. I wasn’t too happy about that, only because he was too stubborn to dress appropriately, and now I missed going to the gym. I don’t mind standing there, but Kyle better be fishing and not complaining.
Soon, we left that spot for another, and to warm up in the car. Dad drove down the opposite side of Route 30 to find another spot, one he’s never fished before. It was great! A nice spot where the river was running a little faster than our previous spot, assisting with the snags, and right along the water.
As we stood there, in the snow, yes, the beginning of April and it was snowing, it was quite the sight when the snow started flying. Kyle was amazed that we were fishing among large fluffy snowflakes. Dad’s response, “Oh, I’ve fished in worse weather than this before.” He began to tell Kyle about some of his fishing adventures in Michigan. The sky was completely overcast, not letting a bit of light shine through. Kyle joined my gaze and made the same observation. Just then Dad said, “If the sun would start shinning, I bet the fish would bite.”
Next thing you knew, the clouds parted ever so slightly and the sun shined down on us. Not for long, but enough and soon Dad got a nibble. He turns to Kyle to offer him the honor of reeling it in. Without thinking twice, Kyle handed me his pole and to0k over Dad’s, like he was the professional among us. Too funny! Dad gave me a big smile. It was like Kyle was five again. He reeled in the Rainbow and was as happy as I’ve seen him in a while. The trout was legal, and Kyle decided to keep it.
Not surprising, Kyle took over his Pappy’s spot and began casting into the water. Dad laughed and took a seat on a rock to let Kyle have the run of the area. I stood by in support, with net in hand. It didn’t take long for Kyle to get another bite. He was excited and reeled in another Rainbow, instructing me to get the net out. Dad yelled over, “I think that’s bigger than the last one!” Kyle’s eye got big and looked toward his catch. It was slightly larger, a perfect size fish! Way to go!
Kyle decided to keep both fish, meaning we were done fishing for the day. Now who gets to clean up the prizes? Me? YES, me! In the freezing cold. Dad remained on his rock, and I thought for a moment, he was going to make Kyle clean his own fish, but instead had me do it. Kyle smiled knowing I didn’t want to pull my hands out of my pockets. (I don’t mind cleaning the fish) Kyle helped me by handing me the fish. Did I mention he was still wearing my hunting gloves? I guess now they smell like fish!
My hands were freezing! As I was descaling the fish, Dad kept commenting, “Make sure you get all the scales off.” and “Get between the fins.” Kyle stood there watching me snickering. I was ready to kill them both, stinkers! My hands were turning blue. Then, while gutting the fish and rinsing them off in the ice cold water, my hands became numb and stinging. I was barely able to move them.
We raced back to car and Dad cranked the heat. We did have a very fun and successful day. I’m glad I tagged along and helped out.
Did we eat the catch? You bet we did. Everyone shared in the small feast.
Tomorrow is the first day of fishing for everyone. Dad has our spots mapped out and planned. It looks like it’s going to be a nice day, which means a lot of fishermen. I hope we’re blessed with a good catch and a nice time. Dad’s already planning on smoking our plenty.