A couple weeks ago, Brittany, challenged me to stay off of Facebook for one week. She said that if I could do that, she would buy me a new fishing pole and other fishing gear and she would take me fishing. Challenge accepted!
I had realized that I was spending entirely too much time on the social media site anyway. My phone would need to be recharged a couple times a day because I was checking Facebook far too often. It was basically consuming all of my free time; and I can think of several things that would be a better use of my free time. Fishing being one of those things.
So I immediately deleted Facebook and Messenger from my phone. Right away I noticed a difference in battery consumption (or lack thereof.) For the first day of not having Facebook on my phone, I realized just how often I did check it. I found myself going to my social media folder on my phone looking to click on the app. It had almost become second nature to just click that little icon and see what all my friends and family were up to.
After not having Facebook on my phone for a couple days, I didn’t really miss it. It was rather liberating not being tied down by the need to check my phone every five to 10 minutes. I worked on a couple projects here around the house and I was able to cross some things off of the “to-do” list.
After the week was up, and not accessing Facebook the entire week, Brittany held up her end of the deal and bought me a new pole, a tackle box, and a mess of tackle. She also bought herself a pole so she could join me on some fishing adventures. So the Saturday after the challenge was issued, we were on our way to Grundy County – Heidecke Lake – with our lunch and fishing gear!
It was a beautiful day full of sunshine and fishing. We spent a few hours out there on the banks of the lake; which proved to be a little less than ideal. The banks of Heidecke Lake are lined with large rocks that you have to navigate in order to get close enough to the water to do some fishing. Luckily we packed that lunch along with our chairs and fishing gear. While we spent several hours out there on the lake, soaking up lots of sunshine, only catching a handful of fish, it was more than just fishing – we spent the day making memories! After that trip, Brittany was “hooked” on fishing!
After our trip to Heidecke Lake, we decided to look for another place to try out that was a little closer to home. We checked out the pond at Erfert Park that’s right down the road from the house. It had rained for a couple days prior to us heading out there, so the water was nice and murky. We spent several hours out there without so much as a bite. I know there are some decent sized fish in that pond because I saw them jump; but we weren’t able to hook any. We might try Erfert park again sometime soon.
Since we didn’t catch anything at Erfert Park, we decided to try out Wampum Lake just a short drive from here. Wampum Lake proved to be very fruitful! I’ve been out there four or five times now and I have caught nearly 100 fish! The water at Wampum Lake is incredibly clear, but it is really shallow around the banks. This shallowness proves to be a little difficult to find the big fish. Only a few of those 100 fish have been “keeper” size. So far we’ve caught several bluegills, crappies, yellow perch, and a catfish.
Being out there, fishing, listening to the sounds of the lake and the occasional live jazz music; it provided me a lot of time to think about things. One of the things I’ve thought about is all the times my grandpa used to take me fishing when I was younger. Every time I’d cast my line in the water I could hear him say, “You’ve got to look behind you when you cast your line so you don’t hook anyone.” Then, when my bobber would sink under the surface of the water, I could hear him say, “Set the hook!”
While we were fishing one day, I sent my parents a text message, asking if they knew where my fishing gear was that I left at their house when I moved out. Neither one of them knew where it was; which wasn’t a big deal since Brittany just bought me a bunch of new gear. I just thought it would have been nice to have since I know I spent several hundred dollars on poles and other fishing gear.
Then, the craziest thing happened. Just a few days after I asked my parents if they had seen my stuff, my dad sent me a text. My Uncle John was going through some things out at my grandpa’s place (Grandpa passed away while I was living in Florida) and he found my old tackle box that my grandpa had given me. Uncle John gave it to my dad to give to me the next time I visit.
My dad sent me a few pictures of it; and as soon as I looked at the pictures I was overcome with emotions. It might look like an old crappy tackle box to most people. A tackle box that is mostly empty. But to me, it’s completely FULL. It’s full of memories from all the times Grandpa took me fishing with him. Like the time when I was around 10 years old when we were doing some night fishing and I caught a 10lb carp. Up to that point, that was the largest fish I had ever caught. I remember wanting to hand my pole over to my grandpa a few times while I was fighting that monster. But every time I tried to hand him my pole, he would say, “It’s your fish, you have to land it!” Little did I know that he was doing more than teach me how to catch a fish. He was teaching me a valuable life lesson. Whatever life throws at you, it’s your fish…and you have to land it! Thanks, Grandpa!
I see a summer full of fishing and making more memories in my near future!