Outdoor Guide Magazine

Readers Respond

Perfect Fishing Lesson Was Her Last Attempt

November 10, 2016 by admin in Readers Respond

I started fishing with my grandpa at age three and had a stringer of 23 fish then, or else I would call this beginner’s luck.
In the mid-1970s, when me and my wife (of 40 years now) were going steady, we went camping with my family at a cabin in the old Indian Ford campground on Missouri Rte. 42 near Vienna on the Gasconade River. I decided to show my wife-to-be how to fish, so we climbed in a jonboat with my brother (who also wanted to try fishing) and with the boat sitting at the bank, I sat in the back seat to fish.
I always used Zebco bait cast rod and reels. I put on the tackle and the worm on the hook for her, but she still wanted me to demonstrate how to cast, etc.
So, step by step, I demonstrated and narrated. I held the rod in my right hand and showed her how to push and hold the release button on the rear of the reel while drawing back and casting, making sure not to let go of the rod but just to release the button at the end of the stroke to cast the hook where you want to fish on the bottom of the river, and then crank the slack out of the line, also setting the drag lock.
I held my finger on the line while grasping the rod and patiently waited to feel a fish bite. At that second, I felt the line move under my finger when a fish took my bait. Then, with a short, swift jerk, I tried to set the hook in the mouth of the fish, which again happened exactly on cue. Then I cranked and reeled in the hooked fish and lifted it out on the line.
Then, while I was laughing in disbelief at the timing (I rarely catch fish, much less that fast and easily), I told her that’s how it’s done.  She stood up, threw her rod at me, stomped out of the boat and back to the cabin, calling me a smartass, as if I had done the whole thing on purpose.
I have never been able to repeat that event in more than 40 years and never knew anyone my whole life, even my grandpa and his fishing buddies, who had a similar occurrence of a perfect “How to Catch a Fish” lesson.
P.S. – My wife never wanted to fish again either – a lucky lesson for me but not so lucky for my wife.

Mitch Garstang
St Peters, MO

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