IT WAS THIS BIG… Here we are, close to the Ides of March (March 15) and I have yet to see any daffodils or crocus. By now, I would see the crocus bunched close to a tree stump or rock, the daffodils seemed to like the open spaces and sunshine.
Thinking back, I haven’t been fishing this spring yet. That could be the problem. I plan to rectify that omission by this coming weekend. I give myself a fishing license for my birthday (March 30), which always brings me to think of my dad.
When I was growing up, I don’t ever recall getting a fishing license. I don’t think there was such a thing. My fishing buddies would meet at the “doughnut pond” a muddy puddle with an island in the middle and a handful of bluegills. I never heard a rumor of needing a fishing license.
Sometime around my elementary grade school graduation, I learned kids over the age of 12 needed a fishing license to fish on public waters. That was right around the time that Donut Lake was bulldozed in for a parking lot at the new Jr. High. Which was a good trade off… the parking lot was flooded every year for a hockey rink. The other lot was for figure skaters.
Fast forward. Over 4.5 years in the USAF, I am a veteran, had some college, and was married with kids. I learned to dodge the fishing license question. Active military weren’t required to have a license, nor are those with a disability. Senior citizens can purchase one at a discount.
Between ages 16 and 65, my dad had never bought a fishing license. That’s my guess anyways. The year he retired, I invited him to go fishing with me and 5-year-old Amy. So after a sumptuous breakfast we were getting ready to go fishing.
Dad was banging around in his garage. “Whatcha looking for?” I queried. My fishing license he replied.
“Are you kidding me? You’ve never had a fishing license.”
“I do now, it was just 25 cents!”
Off we went, Amy in front playing with her Cabbage Patch doll, me in the middle rowing and dad at the back trolling a gob of night crawlers.
I’ll bet I didn’t row more than 100 yards when dad yelled, “I got a fish.”
He was excited, whipping the pole back and forth, up and down, splashing water. Dad, be careful I said, that will break your line and lose the fish. Besides it’s probably not a fish at all, but a snag of weeds.
“Crank it in steadily,” I said. “Let me reach over your shoulder and grab it. Holy cow dad, that’s a nice big bass.”
It took a little time to get the five pound bass off the hook and onto the stringer. Finally things on the boat settled down.
“Hey dad,” I said, “put some fresh crawlers on your hook. Those you got are bloody and beat up.”
Dad said, I gotta go in, I gotta show this to mother, I gotta go pee.
Amy added I gotta go pee too.
I know when I am whipped, and I rowed us back in. Dad couldn’t wait to show the big bass to mom. Then he filleted it and mom fried it for lunch.
I never got a picture of it, which was okay. It probably wasn’t a five pounder anyway, but it was that morning.