At the lake’s shore where we always set up camp, I was standing on the rear tire loosening the ratchet straps to take the canoe off, and Jake was reeling in the first fish of the day. We’d been out of the car for three minutes at most. I remembered doing the exact same thing as a kid when I’d come here with my grandfather.
Fishing is just fishing. That’s how I look at it. It’s the greatest thing in the world that you can do, but it’s still just fishing. If you try to make it more than that then you lose something in its simplicity as far as I’m concerned, trying to make it more than what it is. Which is me, a fly rod, a line with a hook, and hopefully a smart fish having a bad day or a stupid fish in the right place at the right time.
The creek out back. That’s how I refer to it most of the time. It’s got a name like most creeks, but to me it’s the creek out back. Why? Because that’s where it is. The name isn’t important on most days. Less and less becomes important to me all the time the older I get it seems. And what I hold onto as actually important likewise becomes more important the older I get. The creek is important. Its name, not so much as its location. Out back.
When I’m on my death bed, I don’t plan on reminiscing about how perfect the grass was. I plan on telling about how every time Carter would hook a decent fish when he was a young boy that he’d always turn and look at me with disappointment on his face and tell me “I’m snagged on something,” and gesture to me to take the rod and unsnag it. Only for me to feel the rod shudder and hand it back to him in hilarious excitement, “You’re not snagged, it’s a fish. Reel!”
I could see the pain on his face as we walked to the Jeep. Not physical pain, but mental anguish. “But Dad, I’m in a slump! I haven’t gotten a hit in two games!” There was nothing I could do to calm him down. My eleven year old little leaguer...