When the fish bite, so too does the fishing bug

My wife had invited a couple of her friends over for some fishing and a late lunch. You see, her friend Lillian decided to take up fishing and wasn’t having any of luck. She had been fishing in the Susquehanna River but with the extremely low water, she wasn’t catching very much of anything. In fact, she had never eaten a fish she had caught.

I still had some worms in the refrigerator from earlier in the season, so we took them to a small pond that I knew always produced a nice mess of fish. Now late in the season, there was no doubt the fish would be biting. They, like other animals, would be stocking up for the winter.

When we got to the pond, the wind was blowing at near gale-force speed right into our faces. As I put a small worm on my hook, I thought of an old saying that I heard many years ago. “When the wind is in the east, the fish bite least, but when the wind is in the west, the fish bite best.”

That’s the direction it was blowing across the pond. Small waves were hitting the shore as my wife cast out into the deeper water. Well, it didn’t get very far out, but before she could even reel it in, I heard her say, “I’ve got one.” Her bobber had disappeared below the surface within mere seconds.

Now, those bluegills may be small, but they are good fighters. She reeled in a fat little fish and put it in the bucket. It would be really tasty when fried up in some beer batter later in the day. After all, the little filet from those pan fish have been referred to as “poor man’s shrimp.” A couple dozen of them would make us a nice meal.

Pat’s friend Robbie got a nice crappy on his first cast. I knew it was going to be a good day. Within just minutes I heard someone else say those same words, “I got one.”

With the wind blowing into shore so hard, Lillian was having trouble getting her line out, so she moved around the pond to a more sheltered section. Instead of a nice fat garden worm she had tied a small yellow rubber worm-type lure on with a floppy tail. It worked. “Boy, wait ‘til you see this one she yelled, holding up a largemouth bass that weighed about a pound and a half.

We fished for about an hour and had plenty of fish, but Lillian kept saying, “just one more.” She had a hot spot and caught four bass before she called it quits.

When we got home, I fileted the fish. I was surprised how many we caught in such little time. I tried to teach Lil how to filet them, but she definitely needed more practice. As I continued, I watched her slip her fingers into the bowl of water where I was putting the filets. She picked up one and took a bite. She claimed it was the best sushi she’d ever eaten. At least she knew what she was eating as she ate several small fat morsels.

After many laughs and a great meal, I put the remaining fish in a plastic bag with some ice for Lillian to take home, but Robbie gave her an even better gift. He had gone to his car and brought a rod and reel into our kitchen. “Here,” he said to her. “My father gave this to me, and I want you to have it. You’ve become a fisherman and deserve a real fishing pole.”

Lillian was overjoyed. Words can’t describe that moment.

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