“Going to the Gym” [Bass Searching] Before School

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I was headed for the gym, but now I’m almost to the lake. Driving down the hill towards the boat ramp, I parous the shoreline. I’m pleased to see the calm water reflecting hints of morning sunshine and an empty dock tucked in the corner ready to be put to use.  I shift the car in park and step out unaccompanied for a moment. With a long stretch towards the sky I listen briefly to the birds doing their doo-wap tune and take a deep breath of solice.

This is different, I think. This is much better than riding an eliptical, folding laundry, or mechanically doing the morning dishes. Somedays, I just need to do something strange. The darker clouds in the distance stamp a notion of time for me and I gather my things. Even though it’s only a few hours before I have to take my kids to pre-school, and I will look like a crazy lady hauling her kids to the water this early, I have to be near water. I need to hear the sound of my line whisking, like it will solve all of the problems I have lined up in my mind. And strangly, I need to check in on the bass as if I were their keepers. Are they in nesting yet? Is it time to bring the kids here with their little ‘Cars’ themed poles and home-made fly rods?

[The number one rule of getting kids into fishing is to never have them fish when they won’t catch fish. So I MUST investigate. Its kind of my job as a mother, right?]

Our bass from last year. We threw worms in there so it would eat even though it was terrorized.

Our bass from last year. We threw worms in there so it would eat even though it was terrorized.

I jazz the boys up about morning outdoor time with ideas of bass in their buckets and heart rocks they collect for their Grandma Lulu from time to time. I also tell them we will get donuts later, so that helps. They decide to fill the bucket with water ‘so it’s ready for mom’s first fish of the day’. I cast and strip a wooley bugger around, add more weight, and cast some more. I see a fish rise off to the right and the calm lake is now tattered with ripples moving towards me. The morning light catches the waves in a glistening way that evokes a smile on my face. I know you are here little fishy, just knowing you are here makes this fun. 

Constantly looking over my shoulder, I notice the boys have found an ant hill that they are determined to extinguish with their bucket of water. What started as a stretch down off of the dock in the shallows, to fill their little bucket, has developed into knee-deep wade in the lake water; school shoes and everything. I can’t complain, after all, I’m the one that brought them here. Complaining would mean that I was going to do something about it. I simply say, ‘don’t go pass your knees, you crazy kid’. 

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As I am stripping in, I look down to see if anything is following my bugger and see a nice size bass scoping it out. But unfortunately, I have run out of room to strip and it saw me peering down at it. I hear behind me from the 2.5 yr old, ‘Oh, you crazy kid. You are crazy!’ He says this now every time his brother gets in the water to fill up their bucket. Then together they dump the water on the sidewalk and run back to the dock screaming and laughing joyously. 

A car has pulled up now and is watching us like we are the morning news. An older man steps out, along with his daughter, both speaking Japanese from what I can tell. They look at me, casting, double hauling and throwing my line around while my kids are straight up murdering a colony of ants. I thought this would be enough to scare this man away, but instead he walks down to the dock. I’m curious to what will happen next as I feel my personal bubble being threatened. Usually people will come say, ‘hey, you fly fishing?” And I’ll say, “Yep.” 

He walks out nearly five feet from me and I keep casting as if to hold my poise. I face him. He looks in the water and looks at me. I decide say, “I think the bass are starting to come in”, probably because I just needed to tell someone, or let him know I served a purpose here at the docks this morning; that there is a viable reason my kids are swimming in their school clothes.  I was hoping to find out his curiosities, but our language barrier only created a awkward moment as he smiled and turned his back to me. See ya dude, I said, and he decided to not turn back around.

After a while, a bass hits my bugger and I set the hook too slow, but I am still giddy like it was the first fish I ever almost caught. Reeling back in, my oldest boy starts yelling because he has a bug phobia (yes, my kid does) and he has now realized that the ants have been washed down to where they are standing and are warring revenge on their enemies by climbing up their shoes. Time was up. I had to quickly rip off the soaked school clothes from the bug-phobic 5 yr old to his underwear in the parking lot, followed by the 2.5 yr old who just does what ever his brother does, emulating a fake terror of bugs.

Home to baths to make sure the ants were all off and then, believe it or not, to school ON TIME!

Some days, life just needs a bit of adventure or nature in the mix. Ya, I appear to be a fish addict, but it’s not the fish I need to catch like some would believe. I don’t need that trophy picture or even a fish to the net. Its the breath of morning air, the squeal of my children creating their own silly moments, and the whisk of a line that generates a memorable sound in my ear that comforts me. I know I’m always a strange sight, but the more I go and the older I get, the less I care about being the odd one out. We were made to be our strange selves, sometimes getting out of the box we construct in our minds is just what we need. Even though my muffin top needed the gym, my brain needed the water. Casting is a good ab workout right? 😉

Another one of my favorite dock moments, Read Here: Dock Side Manners Story

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