The Great Outdoors
by Larry Whiteley
A MAN CALLED FISH
His name is Joe. Those that know him call him Fish. He is 89 years old. It is an early May morning. The sun is rising over the forested hills surrounding the lake. Birds are beginning to sing. Crows are cawing at each other. Deer come to the water’s edge for a drink. On a distant hill, a turkey gobbles.
Fish is alone in the old aluminum boat that he bought in 1960. His wife used to come with him. He tells folks she went home to heaven a few years ago. His kids and grandkids live in other states. Sometimes, an old fishing buddy will go with him, but mostly he goes by himself.
The boat is dented, scratched, and patched, but he loves it. The same 25-horsepower Evinrude that he put on it all those years ago still powers the boat. There is no LiveScope on this boat or any other modern technology for that matter.
The sun reflects on the water as his wrinkled hands struggle to tie on a crappie jig. Fish has done this many times, it just takes a little longer to do it now. He still uses the same rod and reel that his wife bought him long ago. He cast the jig to where he knows the crappie will be. It doesn’t take long before he catches his first crappie. It is clipped to his fish stringer and hung over the side of the boat.
A few hours later, the last crappie of his limit is reeled in and added to the stringer. Fish looks up and sees an eagle sitting on a limb. It was watching him. He smiles and thanks God for another great day on the water.
It would not be the last fishing trip for a man called Fish.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” – John Barrymore
A TIP FROM OLD BOONE
When I was young, before all these new electronics that help you catch crappie, this is how we did it.
We would anchor over a likely-looking spot and sprinkle cornmeal around the boat every few minutes. Minnows would begin to gather to feed on the cornmeal, and the crappie came in to feed on our minnows.
It worked great, but I would highly suggest you check local regulations to be sure it is legal before you try it.
A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE
A friend and his 8-year-old son went crappie fishing the other day. They were up before daylight, drove to their fishing spot, and got the boat in the water just as thunder rumbled in the morning sky.
After a day of cold rain, a zillion questions from the boy, and no crappie, they drove home. The first through the door was the father.
The mother asked, “How was it?”
“Okay,” he said, “Cold, wet, no crappie. Disappointing I guess.”
Then the son came through the door. The mother asked him the same question.
“It was great,” said the boy, “Dad and I spent the whole day together. We didn’t get any crappie, but we talked a lot.”
Then the boy walked off, beaming with pride and satisfaction.
I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. Take your kids fishing.