I saw this story online this morning and the picture reminded of a fishing trip with my Great Uncle Ed.
Uncle Ed was a great fisherman and story teller. Often times the two went hand in hand.
This particular fishing expedition took place on a Lake Calhoun that was west of our farm. We were well supplied with worms to catch lots of pan fish…sunfish and crappies.
It was a typical warm humid Minnesota summer day. Perfect for leaning your elbows on the side of Uncle Ed’s old boat to daydream an afternoon away as you watched your red and white bobber for evidence of fish interest in your bait.
Then, serene contemplation was shattered when all of a sudden Uncle Ed’s bobber went under with a vengeance! In a flash his bobber disappeared in the swirl of a mighty whirlpool, as his pole instantly bent in half straining to break. The pole’s tip barely clearing the water’s surface as Uncle Ed jumped to his feet, told us to sit down before we all ended up in the lake and began to battle the ferocious finned fiend fighting for freedom.
The war lasted quite a while.
Finally, Uncle Ed began to make headway on landing the fish as us youthful spectators in the boat strained to remain seated, have the net at the ready while competing for the most advantageous position from which to be the first to get a glimpse of what surely must be a monster of the deep.
As Uncle Ed brought his fishing pole tip along side the boat and as his bobber became visible once again to land lovers, a huge northern pike leaped from the lake directly towards the boat spitting out the very small sunfish it had been hanging on to by the tail with a oral explosion force that would have been the envy of any champion watermelon seed or cherry pit spitter.
That small orange-bellied minnow-sized projectile flew through the air right at Uncle Ed and almost landed in the boat. Then, the Pike smiled right at Uncle Ed, before the monstrosity of a fish with the sense of humor disappeared below the dark green water with a salutatory wave of its tail.
Uncle Ed stood transfixed. Before long he mustered a dignity not often found in today’s world. He quietly held up the half-eaten micro sunfish so that all of us kids could inspect the toothmarks left by the giant predator. With a sad look of resignation he just said, “Nobody is ever going to believe me.”
I have many great memories of my Uncle Ed. Many years ago, right after he went into a nursing home, I wrote this poem about him and his old fishing boat.
Used Boat for Sale
By Patricia Turgeon
Old used boat for sale
Two oars, no sail.
No leaks, motor runs.
Proven lots of fun.
Must sell now, moving to a home
Where I’ll dance, dine and not be alone.
Buy my boat, I’ll sell it cheap,
To a home with children a mile deep.
Then, next spring into the lake it will go,
Following a path it has come well to know.
If you want to learn to fish,
This boat’s the answer to your wish.
My sons, daughter and grandchildren too,
Learned to fish in that boat just like you’re going to do.
The trick is to not be afraid
That is why flotation devices are made.
Bait’s not a problem, buy it at the store,
If you run out, go back and buy some more.
Bait the hook, let that bobber fly,
Be careful not to take out an eye.
When your bobber sinks out of sight,
Give the pole a snap and keep the line tight.
You’ll know the fish is caught when your line starts to drag.
Reel it in quick or weeds you will snag.
Use a net to get your catch inside,
Holding your first fish will fill you with pride!
Call today, the boat will go fast,
A deal this good, just won’t last.
Now don’t think that it’s sad, that my boat has to be sold.
I’ve taken my turn, it’s called getting old.
So, if you can….grant me this final wish,
Keep that old boat filled with laughter, children and fish.
Great Uncle Ed and Aunt Olive