July 11, 2017


Few contrasts of emotion compare to unhooking a keeper walleye and losing a rod that doesn’t belong to you over the side of the boat.
But like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.
Such was fishing with my uncle and aunt earlier this month, trolling sunken islands on the Van Hook Arm, a location unvisited by me for 10 years, since a 108-degree weekend made memorable by the date: 7-7-07.
Fishing with my family was pleasanter this time around. No soaring heat. No 5-foot waves.
No unwanted skipjacks flopping on the floor of the boat.
Instead, we had temps in the upper 70s, light winds and the congenial regularity of Aunt Arlene catching a 16-inch walleye on every pass.
And the matter of my rod.
Whilst removing her green hook from a walleye’s lip, bent over the net, I head a springing sound and saw my (uncle’s) rod flop off the stern and hit the water.
Concurrent with the latter, I shot out from the corner of the boat like a Labrador lunging for dropped food, missing the rod by inches, watching it sink into the green depths.
“What was that?” my uncle asked unflinchingly from the bow.
Cue my awkward explanation.
“Dig him out another rod, Arlene.”
New rig deployed and another poisson d’Arlene in the box, my aunt took up her slack like a lady with a fish on, but no: “Jeez, this feels like a tree!” she laughed, hauling up the line on a heavy catch.
It broke the water.
My (uncle’s) rod.
We cheered as the pole crawled closer and closer. I shinnied out from the boat like a sloth and caught the rod tip, manhandling it up from the water, still hooked on its snag.
I broke off the snag (losing the lure) and passed the recovered prize to my uncle.
“Guess I’m off the hook, eh, Arlene?” I punned.
The recovered rod was definitely a highlight that Sunday. But so were 10 walleyes in the box and a handful of tackle dredged from the lakebed, including several hooks and two bottom bouncers.
The preceding day, I hauled up my  second catfish in 11 years, plus two tiny perch (none were kept).
We even had a feathery companion on our Sunday outing: a friendly female American white pelican, paddling close by. Her mates glided by over the water, rivals to the trumpeter swan for longest bird native to North America (fun fact for ya).
Other sightings of note: A man wearing (only) a cowboy hat and Hawaiian shorts (feet unseen) in a party barge, plus stupid seagulls at the fish cleaning station.
Wouldn’t we all love to fight over bits of dead fish?