A Good Day Fishing

“In fishing, you have a rod and a line with a hook at one end and a fool at the other!” A comment supposedly made by Dr. Samuel Johnson who could be very cynical in his social observations. It’s an opinion which, for most of my life, I have also espoused, having no desire whatsoever to hang around a riverbank and stare at a bobber for an inordinate amount of time. 

Last weekend my grandson, Aiden, “invited” me to accompany him to a local lakeside to watch his piscatorial efforts. Now remember, what I know about fishing could be written on a pinhead. He only recently became enamored of this hobby but has adopted the pursuit as vigorously as anything outside of a hand-held device. ‘Hook, line and sinker’ comes to mind as he shows off the contents of his tackle box – most of which is either smelly or dangerous.

His dexterity amazed me as he set up and started casting and within minutes had a smallish Blue Gill flapping around before he released it back to the lake and so it went for the next couple of hours as he successfully caught a dozen or so fish of varying makes and models. 

My assumed boredom was dismissed fairly quickly as I recognized the occasion as an opportunity to watch all kinds of other wildlife around us. The ability to take time and stand and stare was as rewarding as the time spent with Aiden. Red-tail hawks were displaying their acrobatic mating flights high above us in beautiful swoops and swirls while ugly Turkey Vultures were pulling an unfortunate rabbit apart, arguing and clawing at the prey and themselves. 

A Grey Heron was showing off his fishing skills and having enormous luck stealthily plucking what I assumed to be minnows with clockwork regularity. 

Fishing vessels of every stripe fit for a lake from a blowup raft to high powered bass boats provided an occasional background drone and Sea-Doos danced and skipped around pontoons having a party.

In the afternoon we moved to the base of Percy Priest Dam. The gates were closed allowing the adventurous Aiden to plunder the pools at the bottom of the monolithic structure – he looked so small. The highlight for me, on top of the privilege of spending time with him, was to catch sight of a Bald Eagle swooping low over the dam and scoping out the area for lunch. The visit was short-lived but exhilarating as heck. They’ve made a successful comeback in Tennessee since a release program was started in the early nineties.

As the afternoon got warmer and the sun was high, bites became rarer, and it was time to beat a retreat to the air-conditioned cool of the car and an easy ride home. I was aglow with the results of his efforts along with the tingle of sunburned skin. 

The whole exercise convinced me that I don’t get out often enough to appreciate what’s going on around us and that, even with all kinds of man-made structures and alterations, nature and wildlife finds a way to make the most of any situation. 

Aiden’s no fool and he showed me a thing or two. I know I would now take issue with Johnson’s premise. 

Last modified on Tuesday, 24 May 2022 13:57