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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Two Bears out Fishing by: Megan

It was a stormy, rainy afternoon out on the lake. It was quiet, except for the raindrops that disrupted the calm water and the distant rumble of thunder that sounded every now and again. We were out fishing, my dad and I. Few others were doing so, due to the weather, so the area was quiet and still. I had a simple routine: cast out and retrieve, cast, retrieve, and over again and again. The air was cool, crisp, and wet with the smell of rain. Lost in thought in this relaxing moment, I was abruptly awoken when my pole began to pull down and away, like a kite on a windy day. A fish, a big fish was on my line, but we should not start there. Let us rewind the day for a moment or so.

It had already been a long day when we returned to camp after our early, 4am fishing start. We all decided to take naps, and went to sleep listening to the flapping of the tent fabric, listening to the sound of a storm on its way. When we awoke, clouds had already rolled in. Rain slowly began to fall from the gloomy, gray sky, and the smell of wet dirt, and of rain, slowly filled the camp. That is when my dad posed the question, “Want to go fishing?”

In minutes we had loaded our fishing gear in the truck and were headed to Intake #2. Raindrops skidded down the window, and blurred my vision of the scenery outside. In moments we pulled into the lake parking lot. The rain had stopped for the moment and we quickly grabbed our gear and went to find a spot. We watched as people left, not wanting to get caught in the rain. Thunder boomed in the distance and the smell of rain filled the air. There was no wind, and the perimeter of the lake was emptying, growing ever quieter, as a stadium after a game.

We found a spot towards the back of the lake, the area that was said to be the best. The spot gave a perfect view of the rest of the lake, including the hills and the mountains in the distance. We changed out hooks for lures and began to fish, using a cast and retrieve pattern. It began to rain again. No longer were the dark blue waters of the lake still. Raindrops began to ripple it, creating rings that would start small, grow, and then fade back into the water. With the absence of the wind, the weather was enjoyable. It simply could not get any quieter, any more peaceful. The gray-cast sky conveyed the mood, though not sad, but relaxing. So far, neither my dad nor I were having any luck. However, things were already looking better than it had been earlier that morning.

In the time that passed we had gotten a couple bites, but nothing to reel in. Every time my line flew out and my lure hit the water, a spark of hope that ‘this would be the one’ would linger until I had reeled in all the way; then I would just give another swing of my pole, and my line would be out for another chance. There was not another place in the world that I would rather be.

Time continued to pass easily. The weather still refreshing and relaxing, the area still silent and peaceful, when I suddenly felt a tug on my pole, heard a splash in the water, and heard the buzzing sound of my line pulling out. For a moment, I did not know what was happening, but soon I began to reel in. My pole began to waver from side to side, and my reeling could not have been any less smooth. Adrenaline, excitement, and the thrill of the moment soon caught up to me. After my eyes had followed the line, and saw the size of the fish, I reeled faster; I had to bring this fish in!

Now I could see the fish in the water, a few feet from me. I brought him closer, for my dad, who while I was reeling in, had picked up the net. I was anxious, and even more so as the net proved too small for the fish, who was flopping around and slipping away, like soap for wet hands. I held my breath, still holding my pole, as my dad tried to flip the fish up. With quick effort, the fish was finally flipped out of the water, onto the concrete, and pinned down. The instant he had been flipped out, he spit out the lure; any longer in the water, he would have been gone.

Letting out the air I had held in, I took a sigh of relief and high-fived my dad. Fishermen down the way, who had seen us, yelled out “Nice fish!” and “Nice job!” We hooked the fish up and set him back in the water. I could not believe what had just happened! Everything in the moment that passed, except for me, my pole, and the fish, had been blocked out. And now, now it was done, finished, over; I had succeeded.

We fished a bit more after that, but I, still lost in the moment, could have caught nothing else and still have been happy. The fish was a good size and I could not wait to get it weighed. After ten to fifteen minutes or so we packed up. As it was, I did not catch anything else, and even snagged and lost my lure on a net, but was still happy and content. We grabbed the fish and headed back to the truck.

It turned out that that fish weighed a little over three pounds; my first Alper. It was an amazing and exciting moment for me. No fishing experiences, to date, have been the same. I will always remember that day, that stormy afternoon on the lake with my dad.

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