There was a time when I went bass fishing every chance I got. I mean, I'd be at work and get a phone call from my partner, Fred, and we'd be heading for Maryland's eastern shore with a boat in tow faster than you can say, "I got my limit today!"
Fishing back in Maryland wasn't what I'd call great fishing. Maryland isn't good for most anything, except maybe voting for liberal candidates to the house, the senate, the Presidency. But that's another story. I'm talking Bass Fishing here!
Like I said; Fred and I spent far too much time in the pursuit of Bass. I'm not even going to mention the boats Fred owned. Me? My boats were:
A 1969 Ouchita (built right here in Arkansas, but the way)
A 1975 Hydra-Sports with a 140HP Evinrude (a fast boat!)
A 1984 Hydra-Sports with a 150 HP Mariner (a faster boat!)
A 1995 Gambler with a 150 HP Mercury (faster still!!!)
A 1998 Gambler with a 200 HP Mercury (the fastest, best boat I ever owned!!!)
Fred and I roamed all over Maryland, Delaware and Virginia for more years than I can remember. We fished such places as:
Currituck Sound and Back Bay, Virginia (the greatest fishing hole ever!!!)
The tidal rivers of Maryland's eastern shore (the Choptank, the Nanticoke, the Marshy Hope, the Transquaking,) we fished all over Forida on water like the Withlacoochee River, Lake Ockeechobee, the Kissimmee River, the Stick marsh and Farm 13, and on and on and on.
I think back to all those years and.......Lord! I do miss those days!
Now, I live in Arkansas! I now live among some of the best bass fishing lakes and rivers anywhere and, guess what, I rarely go out anymore.
When we moved here I told my wife I'd have to get another boat, though maybe something more modest. I bought a "tin" boat, an aluminum 17-foot Lowe bass boat from a guy in Georgia. I bought it on eBay (of all places)and trailered it back to Arkansas a weeklater. I supposed, since I was surrounded by great fishing water, that I'd spend my twilight years catching and releasing bass (did I mention I don't keep fish?) I was wrong.
Last year I went fishing a total of four days! On those four days I fished a total of around three hours each. Now, I don't know about you but, for me, that's tantamount to not fishing at all. I mean, when I go fishing I go for the duration, bell to bell, sunrise to sunset (into the night!) But, I haven't gone - not at all! This year? I've gone out on the water exactly "0" times! That's ZERO! I haven't had the boat out once! It's sitting in the garage, piled high with "garage stuff!"
You know what? It breaks my heart. I'm out here in God's Great Fishing Factory and I don't go fishing!?! I even called Fred and told him to come on out and we can go catch some bass. Fred, who's now an old guy like me, screamed, "Drive 1,200 miles to go fishing? ARE YOU CRAZY?!" And you know, I don't blame him.
The deal is; I'm seventy one (that's 71!!!!!) I don't feel like getting the boat ready, dragging it out to one of our great fishing lakes. I mean, I just don't feel like it! The truth has finally hit me. I'm an old guy. Old guys finally know when it's time to put away childish things (to paraphrase the Bible.) They know when lifetime pursuits are finally finished.
I looked outside today and it was a perfect fishing day. The temperature was around 75, the barometer was rising and the sky was filled with fantastic cumulous clouds. It made me think back to those days long ago, Fred and I sitting in my boat on some obscure Maryland lake, pulling in an occasional largemouth bass (and releasing it of course.) Those were wonderful days and I'll never forget them.
Still, I realize I have my creative writing group today at 2:00. I realize I'd rather spend two or three hours with my fellow writers than go out fishing. I guess that's something we all have to face and reconcile ourselves to. We have to understand; that was then, a wonderful time of our life but.....that was then. This? This is now. This is what we do when we're "getting on in years." This is what we love now and we have to leave those past pursuits behind us - they were for another time.
So, right now it's 1:35 PM - the Conway Creative Writers group starts at 2:00 PM and I'm rushing to get this posted before I leave. I'm excited! I can't wait to see everybody! The day will be filled with new stories, new friends, new discoveries.
who knows? Maybe tomorrow? Maybe tomorrow I'll drag the boat out and head for a lake. You know. Just one last time
The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.
- Jean Giraudoux