Kids Fishing – An Adventure From Many Years Ago
By Marc Rogers
Recently I had the opportunity to visit a pond I fished when I was just a kid. It was summer before I reached the age of ten when I discovered this huge body of water so many years ago. Everything is relative, and to this ten year old boy, that pond was enormous. The time I spent exploring the shoreline and fishing this pond created a lot of memories.
Speaking of everything being relative, this was the first summer I lived in a suburban area. Prior to this I had spent over nine years in a small town in Southeast Missouri with a tiny creek within two hundred yards from my backdoor. This creek was small enough for me to nearly jump across at its widest point and only exceeded waist deep to a nine year old boy during heavy rain. Wading in this unnamed creek was how I passed much time during the warmer months.
My discovery of this two acre pond made my old creek seem small. As I stood on the shoreline and looked across the water, it was clear to me I could not wade these waters due to my fear of getting stuck, forever, in the silt covered mud bottom. If I were going to fish this pond it would have to be done from shore. This was an exciting time as my mind wondered, thinking about all of the big fish that were lurking within casting distance with my discount store, spincast outfit, I could not wait to hook up with one of these giant fish.
Several weeks of catching panfish with bait I could swipe from our refrigerator or cupboard was getting a little boring. While roaming the shoreline, I found a panfish sized spinnerbait (later I discovered it was probably a Johnson Beatle Spin) that an unknown angler had broken off in the brush near the shore. The bright nickel-plated blade was flashing, caught my attention, and helped me overcome my fear of sinking into the mud bottom. Several minutes of convincing myself I was a courageous angler, I retrieved the lure, tied it on my line, and began casting with little confidence of catching any fish. After all, why would any angler leave such a prized lure in the brush if it had the ability to catch fish? Several casts later, while reeling in this new found prize, my rod bent over and the fight was on. After several seconds, that seemed like an eternity, I was dragging a fish on the shore. I had no idea what kind of fish it was, but it jumped several time during the fight, and I was forever hooked. This huge 12-inch fish turned out to be the first largemouth bass I had ever caught, and it was a giant.
The rest of the summer I closely guarded that spinnerbait. It was the only artificial lure I owned and would not allow my new friends to see me fishing with it. When I reported there were largemouth bass in the pond and I had caught some, my friends thought I was making up fish stories. They were sure largemouth bass would not eat dough balls made from slices of bread or pieces of bacon I swiped from home. Not minding they did not believe my story allowed me to have the giant bass all to myself the whole summer.
Catching a few of those huge 12-inch bass caused me not to be satisfied with just walking the shoreline. I decided a boat would be necessary if I wanted to expand my opportunities. There was one major obstacle with my boat owner idea. My mother would certainly try to hold me back from becoming a better angler and would not buy me my first boat – keeping me alive a little longer and holding me back were synonymous to a ten year old angler. It did not take long for my creative mind to solve this problem; I could build my own boat. Quickly, I discovered there were obstacles with this idea as well.
Lack of boat building material, tools and knowledge would be a challenge but determination could overcome these minor inconveniences. Time to completion would also pose a challenge because if my project was discovered it would be halted by those trying to hold be back from becoming a great angler. This boat would have to be built quickly.
The next several days were spent securing boat building materials which amounted to any scrap wood I could find. Once I decided that I had enough wood to float my 60 pound rear-end, I found some fasteners, nails and screws, and was ready to begin. The project would have to be completed close to the water because I could not drag a completed fishing boat from my backyard to the water due to its weight. Also, a strategic location near the water would be required, out of the sight of the woman who continued to hold me back from becoming a television legend with my own fishing show.
With everything ready, my craft was completed in just a few hours and ready for its maiden voyage on the huge two acre body of water. Since this was just testing, I decided a paddle was not necessary. As I eased my masterpiece into the water it began to leak a little, but not enough to dampen my spirits. I gave it a hard shove and jumped in. My added weight made those tiny leaks turn into major issues as my new rig sank. Once I made my exit, it floated at the water surface for a few days and then disappeared. I was back to being just a regular shoreline anglers like a few other neighborhood kid.
While looking across this pond, now about one acre or less, some 35 years later, this story came back to life. Being invited to a friend’s home for a barbeque, I discovered they lived on the shores of this pond. As I walked up to the edge of the water from their backyard, the pond looked much smaller than I remembered it. Everything being relative, I realized I am much bigger than back in the days when I was catching those huge bass on that tiny spinnerbait.