It’s amazing how vividly you can remember as well as imagine some things! For me, one such case was a special fishing trip that was a rite of passage when I was about 17 to 18 years old that I’ll never forget.
I had been giving Dad a bad time every time we went fishing, complaining about everything. I truly believe that I had a bad case of adolescent “know it all-itis!” You know, the kind of teenage angst where if my poor father went into one cove, I was pushing him to move to another better looking one (at least to me!). I was frustrated!
Of course, I also was constantly asking about being able to use the boat. I could visualize how fantastic it would be to be able to go where I wanted. I just wanted a chance to prove my theory, because I was sure that I knew better than my dad at that point!
Well, I had a wise father and he knew the best thing was to let me find out for myself what he already knew – that I didn’t have it figured out yet!
So when he agreed to let me go to Millerton in his boat, all by myself, and stay overnight (you could do that back then), I was stoked! I could see myself pulling up to the house with a huge striper in the ice chest when I got back! Yes! (We hadn’t heard of catch and release back then.) I was fired up at the chance to try out all of my fondest ideas.
Shaking with excitement as I drove to Millerton. I planned to fish late and then anchor up at dark and put out some sardines for stripers. My plan seemed flawless, foolproof … ha!
I arrived near Temperance Flats at the upper end of Millerton and tried casting some lures but little was showing, except for a few bass swirling. Nothing less than a striper would do for me, especially on a big safari like this. Besides I wanted Dad and his friends to take me seriously as a striper angler. I had seen the big ones they had caught – more than 3 feet long and well over 15 pounds! I desperately wanted to join their exclusive club! It was my dream.
Dusk slowly faded to pitch black up in the canyon as I realized there was no moon! The dark swirling waters, along with the sudden shock of realizing there was no one within miles of me back there, suddenly had me worried. The canyon walls closed in around me and the little wisps of mist over the water in the twilight looked weird in the reflected lantern light. Everything looked different to me tonight! I was a little scared.
What if there were some kind of unknown monster swimming right below me, or worse what if some aliens came hovering above the tree tops and abducted me? Who would know way back here? Yeah, those scary thoughts really did go through my mind!
I finally casted out my sardine – hoping something was in the area – and waited. It all looked surreal. Your mind sure can play tricks on you, and I fretfully looked around into the darkness. My imagination was going full tilt.
Then it suddenly hit me. How in the heck was I going to go to sleep in my sleeping bag, where I couldn’t see if anything might be slithering, crawling or climbing into the boat with me! That thought was the worst!
I must have gotten up more than 10 times to check on what I thought I heard, but in the end it was all good. I woke up exhausted, but I had survived. I sure wasn’t going to tell Dad or his buddies about my siege (or the aliens)! My courage was back! Funny how your perspective can change so quickly. I was already planning my next expedition.
Nope, no bites, but I had proven I could do it. Me afraid? Nah!
Yes, I was relieved to have survived my ”fear storm,” and thank God there weren’t any monsters in that sinister looking water. I would’ve died! Yep! Never give up!
Roger George is The Bee’s fishing expert. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org,