Recently while going through some old family photos, I came across a photo of a 5 year old little boy with his first fish. That photograph brought back memories. My fate of my tendency to get wet while out fishing or hunting was born on that day.
The March winds and cold air reminded us that winter is not quite done yet. However, we fishermen were done with old man winter, and took to the local lake hoping to hook our first trout of the season. Fish Maryland Fisheries had so graciously dumped into the lake for our amusement.
My father brought me along on this cold opening day. I can remember wearing my heavy puffy winter coat. I can remember us standing on the wooden dock next to the lake’s dam. While we stood on the dock with fishing poles in hand and fresh baits in the water, a truck arrived and placed a load of hatchery raised trout into the lake.
How long we stood there fishing I cannot remember. How many fish my father caught that day, I cannot remember. I do remember my first fish; a really large trophy sized rainbow trout. Ok, to a 5 year old it was.
After I caught the trout, my father slipped it on the rope stringer and tied it to the dock, letting it swim in the lake. Forty some years later, the image of what happened next is still as fresh as if it happened yesterday. Bending over to look at my fish, I fell off the dock and into the winter cold water. I can still see the water and bubbles, as I slowly began to sink. Saving my life, my father reached down and grabbed a hold of my oversized winter coat. Back on the dock, I was soaking wet and cold.
So that ended our first fishing trip together; me wet and cold, and dad just shaking his head. Looking back as a dad myself, I’m sure his smirkly grin was hard to hide.
When I find myself surrounded by hunting and fishing friends swapping stories, it seems that eventually the conversation turns to me and water. Yep, there are lots of stories of me getting wet, and it all began with my first fish many, many years ago.