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Mountain Home Magazine

Minding the Hook

Jun 01, 2024 09:00AM ● By David Nowacoski

The grass is green and growing fast. Dandelions are rampant and the thermometer is reaching for 80 degrees. This can only mean one thing: We have changed seasons. I’m not talking about the winter, spring, summer thing. This is much more important. We have changed from Hunting Season to Fishing Season.

Now for the hunters out there, this is a very sad time. They will be spending the next six months watching videos of other people hunting. Maybe, if they are lucky, they can find a farmer looking to thin out the woodchucks in a freshly mowed field. Other than that, they just have to wait.

On the other hand, this is game time for those who like to fish. Tackle boxes that have been meticulously re-organized over the winter are pulled out and set in the back seat of the pickup. The rods that have already been restrung are donned with new hooks and are always at the ready if someone says “the bite is on.”

I must admit, I am partial to the fishing season. But the reasons have changed as I have grown older. As a little one, it was all about the catching. The more the better. Didn’t matter what, just a tug on the line was all you needed. When I was old enough to think girls were kind of cute, bragging rights were the goal. It needed to be big, even before the fishing lies grew it an inch or two.

Slowly, as maturity snuck its way in, the experience changed from catching to just fishing. Spending a full day out on the lake with your buddies was more about who had the best story to tell. Sure, we fished, but it was the time spent fishing that was the real goal.

Much later, as I entered still a different season in life, my children became my fishing buddies. When they were little ones, it was time split between trying to keep them from falling into the lake and from putting the fish in their mouths (yes, it happened). But as they grew and they could actually fish with you…well, that was a special kind of day indeed. Some of my favorite photos are from around the lake, proudly displaying some sort of aquatic being and absurdly happy smiles. I thought that would be the pinnacle of my fishing experiences.

But then come the grandkids. This is a new season for me, and I’m so looking forward to it. Last year I didn’t even bring a rod of my own. I was more than content minding the hook for the boys as they feverishly drowned worms in front of spawning sunnies. I was grinning ear to ear as I slid another wiggly onto the hook, knowing I’d be taking a bite-size panfish off a few seconds later. Didn’t matter. The boys’ laughter and excitement at reeling in another one was all I was after.

My first granddaughter was born just six months ago, but I am already shopping for the perfect pink rod and bobber combo. I can’t wait to mind the hook for her one day too.

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