Today is a sad day for me personally as it was just one year ago today that my pop passed away. Pop was the beginning of my love for fishing as his love for the outdoors was a lineage he left to myself and my brothers and sisters. Pop showed me that to be outdoors camping, hiking, fishing or even picnicking was the best way to relax and get away from the stresses that we face in our everyday lives. Pop was an expert when it came to relaxing in the outdoors.
When I was younger my mom and dad would pack us kids up and take us camping and there, pop displayed his ability to forget everything and relax. I remember watching him play horseshoes with complete strangers for hours on end and watching him you would swear he knew these people all his life. I can’t ever remember seeing pop stressed when he was outdoors.
One thing that is indelibly burned in my memory is the day pop took relaxing as far as he could. We were camping in Jefferson, NH and the campground was right on the Isreal River. The temperature that day started in the high seventies with the forecast calling for high nineties by mid day. Pop apparently figured this was a perfect day to relax and do some fishing. He asked me if I wanted to go and of course I jumped at the chance. You can imagine my surprise when he exited the trailer only wearing a bathing suit and carrying a towel.
I felt let down because I figured he changed his mind and decided on swimming instead, but pop grabbed his fishing gear, a small cooler and said let’s go. We got to the river where pop promptly walked out into the water with gear and cooler in hand, found a log in the water to which he tied the cooler, and then he sat down so the water was up to his chest and started fishing.
Of course I complained a little cause that’s not how you fish, to which he just said “it is if you want to relax while doing it”. I didn’t understand then the life lesson he was trying to teach me. I laughed at him and I began fishing while walking all over the place looking for good spots. Sure, I had fun, but by the end of our fishing I was tired, scratched from branches making my way around, hot and sweaty from my efforts, and I had apparently found myself a patch of poison ivy.
Pop? Pop stayed cool and comfortable all day sitting in his spot in the water. He had his cooler with snacks and drinks and was able to completely relax while staying cool on a hot day. To make things worse for me, pop had caught his limit of nice trout while I with all my physical effort only caught three.
It was only later in my life that pop’s lesson was finally understood by me. You don’t have traipse all over the place fishing if what you really need is to just sit back and relax. Sometimes the best day can be had by letting the fish come to you.
Tight lines, The Amateur Angler