January 27

Can’t wait to fish

As I sit here working later than usual, I dream of fishing.  The day on the lake back in the woods seems as clear to me as if it were yesterday.  The lake (which shall remain nameless lest others hope to seek out my prime spot) is only five miles away, but it takes 45 minutes to get to by truck.  The last stretch of the road is the worst.  My husband had to get out and look at the “road” to determine if we were going to get high centered trying to go down it.  He decided to take the risk, and we made it to the end of the road where we were pleased to find a brown sign indicating that we had come upon the public use area for which we were searching.

The sign was beaten up and shot full of holes, but it was there telling us that we could be there too.  We had a kayak in the back of the truck, and my husband hadn’t even been in it yet.  After I took a turn casting from the kayak and caught an eater walleye and perch, it was his turn.  He’s no little guy, so it was with great delight that I watched him get into this kayak and paddle off.  To make the day even better, I had my partners in crime with me, and they were loving the water and the woods.  While their dad fished, they swam and played with water guns while I picked wild blueberries and raspberries.

We were so far away from anyone that our voices were the only ones to be heard.  My husband managed to catch four more walleyes.  We were unsure if the limit was six apiece or six per family, so to be safe, he paddled in and offered me the opportunity to catch the last fish.  I gladly accepted and paddled back out into the lake.  At first, I tried to fish in some different spots than where we’d started, mostly because I like to see as much of the lake as I can.  Ultimately, when the wind and the weeds and the fish were not cooperating I went back to our original spot and caught another perch bigger than the last.  The stringer was heavy with the fish we’d already caught, and adding another was a bit of a challenge.

After a couple more casts, I had my fish.  I reeled him up, and just as I was about to call him mine, I made the fatal mistake of trying to grab him off the line.  He jumped from me and the hook, and he was gone.  I sat silently mourning the loss of my fish when I thought I heard what sounded like heavy breathing.  I turned my head over my right shoulder just in time to see what looked like something dead sink back into the water.

I turned my head slowly forward and told myself to forget that I saw that and chalk it up to my imagination.  “Don’t wanna know.  Don’t need to know.”  I began to cast again in the hopes of catching my lost fish or one of his friends when the breathing from the abyss came again.  I turned to see that a giant snapping turtle had latched onto my stringer of walleyes and was trying to take it away from me.

I began screaming at the creature, “Those are not yours!”  but his powerful jaws would not loosen.  I tried to paddle, but he held on.  Then I started whacking him with my lightweight plastic kayak paddle.  He was unphased.  My husband heard the yelling from the shore, but there was nothing he could do.  I was out on the lake, and this battle was mine alone.  I continued to whack at the turtle and yell, and finally my jabbing him with my paddle in what would be proximal to his shoulder worked, and he gave up and sank back into the depths.

I paddled as fast as I could back to shore.  I never did get that last fish, but I was hell bent on keeping the ones we already had.  It was a great day fishing, and I wish I was there right now.  I’d even take on the turtle again if it meant wetting a line.

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Posted January 27, 2015 by R.C. Brophy in category "Just Checking In

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