A fish tale: hooks, lines and stinkers

By Ted Blankenship

Dorothy and I have reached a certain age.

I’m going to stop right there and do a little complaining about the English language as we Americans know it (which is not so well at times). This “having reached a certain age” bothers me because no matter how old we are, we have reached a certain age, namely the age we are, at the time we write about it. 

However, in the absence of a better term, now that we have reached a certain age, we have moved from 20 acres near Rose Hill to a home in an independent living area in Bel Aire. The complex has among its facilities a lake stocked with fish. 

So I am thinking about doing some fishing. I may not do any actual fishing, but I’m seriously thinking about it. 

And that reminds me of some fascinating fishing experiences in earlier years. 

One I have related to you earlier is a tale about fishing in Missouri using mayflies for bait. You will recall that mayflies have a short life—only a day or two. So the astute fisherman has to get them on a hook rather quickly or he or she will be fishing with dead bait. 

The highlight of that fishing expedition was my uncle’s exuberant cast that resulted in a hook through my ear lobe. 

Years later, Dorothy and I were fishing with the same uncle, and Dorothy got a hook through a finger. Luckily, though it was a Sunday, a doctor was in her Cottonwood Falls office and was able to extract the hook. 

A few years later in the same lake, we were fishing from a boat powered by a motor that ran occasionally. We had been told that the really big fish could be found in the river channel that was somewhere in the deep part of the lake. 

We found it with our fish finder, which operated now and then, and followed the channel until Dorothy got something on her line that bent her pole alarmingly. I didn’t want to break the pole on a snag, so I headed for shore.  

The snag turned out to be a flathead catfish weighing some 30 pounds. 

Pandemonium struck our craft as the irate fish thrashed at the side of the boat. Unfortunately, this was one of the times the motor was running and the fishing line with fish attached got caught in the propeller which was rapidly reeling in the fish and simultaneously wrapping plastic fishing line tightly around the motor shaft. 

We were in shallow water by then and the same uncle’s son waded in and retrieved the fish for us. By then the fishing line looked like a permanent installation around the motor shaft. Happily, it wouldn’t start.

I may reconsider fishing in the pond at the new place.

Contact Ted at tblakenship@cox.net.

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