This is not an ordinary fish story; but an amazing one for an eight year old. My granddad owned several acres in Western NJ. Although much of the land was brush and wooded area, there was a simple farmhouse, a row of old chicken houses (aka a tool shed) and a barn. Several fruit trees were within walking distance of the house, along with a vegetable garden and a row of black raspberry bushes.
A mowed path led us away from the house to a little pond. One side had several bushes that extended out into the pond, which also provided a hiding place for the fish.
On the other side was a small wooden dock with an attached ladder. A rowboat laid upside down on the side of the pond. Granddad said he has used it on occasions to have a picnic with Grandma.
When the weather cooperated, we would divide our outside time with swimming and fishing. When we wanted to swim, we had to change our clothes in the tool shed. I think Grandma didn’t want us to walk through the house dripping water from our suits, after our swim.
Dave would run and jump into a cannonball and make a big splash, while Anne, Tim and I would ease our way into the pond using the ladder. Since I wasn’t a good swimmer yet, I always wore a life preserver. I didn’t mind because there was seaweed and goopy mud at the bottom, and I didn’t want to touch it with my feet. It was weird enough to feel the fish swim in and around our legs.
We were just as excited to go fishing, because we knew Granddad had stocked bass, perch, bluegill and sunfish in the pond. Although he had extra fishing poles, we brought our own. I had a Zebco 202 rod, and instead of using worms, I decided to use a yellow flatfish lure.
I casted out my line and slowly reeled it in. I thought I felt a couple tugs but when the line came all the way in, no fish were in sight. So I casted again. This time, I definitely felt a tug and quickly reeled in my line.
Anne said, “You have two fish on your line.” and I doubted her. I had never seen anyone catch two fish on the same lure at the same time before. But sure enough, when I finally pulled the line in – there were two bass, side by side, flapping and hoping to let go and jump back into the pond. But I wouldn’t let them go. I’m sure mom heard me shout with excitement from the farmhouse.
Dad cleaned the fish for me and then packed them in a cooler, so we could take them with us to Maine, and eat them there. I’m not sure anyone would believe my fish story, since I had to see it to believe it myself. But that was ok because I knew it was not an ordinary fish story to tell.
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