Not Much of a Fisherman
I've never been much at fishing, although I’ve always liked going. But, I never liked to work at it. I say I’m not much of a fisherman because I’m not…unless you count all the snakes, turtles, eels and a few branches I’ve managed to drag in.
My family was fortunate I guess since my dad was the outdoorsy type and took us on many camping, hunting and fishing trips. We also had the advantage of being able to experience these activities all over the country since my dad was a career Air Force man.
The place I remember best was Fort Peck Dam and Reservoir in Montana. It was a popular spot for hunters and campers as well as fishermen. But the lake was huge and there was plenty of room for everybody so no one felt crowded. Dad took us there frequently. He especially liked fishing for what he called “Shiners”. Whatever their name, they flashed silver in the water and made good eating. He caught most of them on spoon lures he made himself.
I remember the place since an incident occurred there I’ll never forget. And neither would my younger brother Rich. It happened early one cold, crisp morning in late fall on one of our outings at the reservoir. We all trooped down to the lake from our camp site and began getting our gear ready.
Remember I said I wasn’t much of a fisherman? You’re about to find out why. I was in a hurry to get started since I knew everybody else would catch more then I would, as usual.
I got the lure on the line and prepared to cast, not paying any attention to those around me. The pole arched back over my shoulder and I cast… immediately catching something. However it wasn’t a fish.
My brother Rich had been walking directly behind me when I cast out and it solidly hooked his ear. The howl he let loose promptly brought Mom and Dad running to his aid.
It took Dad an hour to get the hook out of his ear lobe causing the least amount of damage as possible. Mom went into overkill with bandaging Rich’s ear and he looked more like a mummy than a person.
Then, all eyes focused on me. I had no excuse for being so careless thus I became an outcast and was told to fish further down the bank. A lot further down. So all I caught that day was an ear.
The consequences of my carelessness carried over into future family outings. I was allowed to go on hunting trips as an observer but for some reason Dad wouldn’t let me have my shotgun or participate. Go figure…!