I come by my love for fishing genetically. My granddad started taking me fishing when I was still in training pants. I don't remember how many times we went fishing together but I remember fishing with him. His last fishing trip was to the pond on his farm. He took his only (at that time) grandson (me). I caught a black crappie. There was never a prouder man, nor apparently a bigger fish ever caught in the history of fishing. If there was a bigger one, it was not a grander one, not in his eyes.
That was on the weekend. Granddad had been on layoff from work and he had been feeling poorly. Because he was laid off his insurance wouldn't cover him and if he didn't go back to work he couldn't draw his pension or disability if he was real sick. Monday he was called back and worked his one full shift. Then he went to the doctor. Lung cancer. That can happen when you start smoking at 5. He was dead in days. All of that happened 34 years ago, last week.
Res Jr.'s real life name is the same as my granddad. Because, I remember and honor him still. Granddad was the best fisherman to ever live. I say that because no kid throwing rocks, kicking his feet, breaking bottles or dropping the anchor in the bottom of the boat ever stopped him catching fish. No amount of dumb kid behavior ever interfered with his joy of fishing. He loved having me fish with him. All he needed was a cane pole a can of worms and his little fishing buddy.
Today Res Jr. and I ditched the girls and got in the truck for a drive. The little guy likes to fish. What this means is he likes to watch daddy fish. So last year for his birthday I bought him a pole and a reel. Not a kiddie one either, a real honest to goodness ultralite panfish setup. He's got to use it before. Mostly to get it tangled in the weeds. When that has happened we just call it a day, because its not fun for him anymore. He gets such a kick out of fishing that I don't think it matters when we leave, just as long as he got to come.
Today we got to our spot, daddy rigged up the line, daddy put the worm on, daddy cast it out. Jr. reeled it back in. This is a big accomplishment for him. This is the fist time he as worked the reel. I was proud and had high expectations. Except, just as soon as I'd throw it out, he'd reel it back. I couldn't even get my fly rod outfitted. This was frustrating to daddy. Fish were jumping all over the pond. Jr. hadn't caught one in 3 casts. That was frustrating to him. With about 8 ft of line still in the water and the bobber floating free, we gave up on the worm and left it there.
We walked around to the other side to try the fly rod. Daddy managed to kill some time and land 3 nice rainbows. Jr. loved it. This was what he came for. The fishing slowed where we were at and so we moved back to the other side. About then I noticed that the bobber would go down and come up. There was no doubt in my mind the fish has swallowed the hook. So I made ready for the big event.
I acted like nothing was up. Just like another man did 34 years ago. I handed the rod over with the instruction to "reel it in". Just as he started to crank he cried, "its stuck daddy, its stuck!". "Is it now?", I asked. The fish made a run for it and the pole started bouncing like a kangaroo doing jumping jacks. "It's a fish daddy, a FISH!!!". I don't know who was more excited him or me. "Reel it in"! I ordered. "I'm doing it, I'm doing it daddy!".
Somebody, (a real big dumbo) who shall go without being named to protect his identity, had set the drag way to lite. So the reeling it part was much more dramatic than might have otherwise occurred. I swear the way he was swinging the rod back and forth I thought he was going to throw it in with the fish. That would have made me mad, because I knew that if the rod went in, I was going to have to make a 2hr ride home soaking wet. There was no way we were going to miss that fish, even if I had to take a swim.
We got our whale landed. It was a 11 inch rainbow. "We caught a fish daddy", he said. "No you caught it", I corrected. "I caught a fish daddy!" he shouted. "Yes you did" I told him. If you go to the Wyoming Game and Fish web page where they keep the records, you will find no fish such as this listed. There has never been a better trout caught here or anyplace else. In the history of the world only two fish have ever been this grand. I was privileged to be there when they both were caught.