Good weekend. Have you ever gotten lucky enough to spend time on the water? Yeah, fishing. Sometimes it’s not about the fishing it’s about that talk and the people. When it’s deep enough it is life long. Go fishing.
~ Frankie Sullivan
I read that post today and it conjured up memories of a time long past for me. Carefree days of youth that up until this very moment I had recessed deeply in my mind. Fishing was never something I was very into doing. Quite frankly, it’s something I haven’t done in a quite a long time and after today, I’m beginning to wonder why that’s been the case.
Not too far from my home runs the Bushkill Creek, once a popular water way for local fishermen and one that was also well-loved by most children who grew up during the early 1980’s. The coolness factor of the creek for kids was actually two-fold: for not only did the flowing waters of the creek run adjacent to the Crayola Crayon factory but its waters also ran next to a hundred year old amusement park, now long since closed, but one that my family visited religiously every summer while I was growing up.
On many weekends during those same warm summer days, days when “back to school” was not even a blip on the radar, my father would gather the rod and tackle box, hustle me into our ’77 Malibu and take me fishing at the Bushkill Creek.
Making our way down the hillside towards the creek with my pole dangling back and forth was exhilarating. The challenge that awaited: casting a piece of string with bait attached into the water and waiting. Waiting for a strike.
To a ten-year old boy there simply was nothing that compared to the opportunity of catching a trout in front of your father. It was better than coming home with an “A” on a test or hitting a home-run in Little League. I surmise it’s the same feeling you get while watching the announcement of Power Ball numbers on television. The build-up of excitement you get as each number called matches the one on your ticket. The opportunity you sometimes get of only needing one more number to win the jackpot. In reality though, fish or no fish, just being there with my father was like winning the lottery.
If I think back hard enough I can still picture the mist rising off of the creek and feel the warm breeze on my face. There really is something to be said for being next to a body of water. Most of the time, if we were lucky, there would not be another soul around either. It would just be me and my father alone. Not far from our house but still one with nature.
Silence was golden during our trips to the creek too. The fish required it and we were happy to oblige. But there’s also a certain “language” used between fishermen that only they can understand. Anticipating what each one is doing and assisting as necessary. So while I quietly opened the tackle box, my father, without saying a word, would begin adjusting our poles for proper casting. The only sounds made was the squeal of the reel and the “plop” of bait into sea. At this point, we’d both sit on the ground and then…silence.
At a certain point during our time together I’d find myself shuffling closer to my father with my legs dangling over the edge of the creek. I wasn’t really sure why I did it. As a child, perhaps it was because I assumed that by doing so some of his “grown-up” fishing magic would rub off on me. But in retrospect and with my own wisdom of years I now know that it was simply the need to just to be closer to him.
After a few unsuccessful hours we’d begin packing up our gear. My father would pat me on the back and we’d make our way empty-handed back up the hill and steer off towards home. On the drive home, and with the sun beginning to set on another perfect day, we’d make a pact with each other to try again the following weekend. Only this time with success.
You know, in all of the fishing expeditions my father and I took together to the Bushkill Creek I don’t ever recall getting anything more than a single bite or two. And I don’t think I personally ever actually caught a single fish either.
Instead, I caught something even better.