Fish tales

One week ago tonight, as the sun began to set on a beautiful southwest Minnesota spring day, I was thinking to myself that life doesn’t get any better than this.

I had a fishing pole in my hand, a body of water in front of me and two generations of nieces and nephews sharing in an evening of fishing.

Nephew Matt, his son Brody and the first catch of the evening.

Planned by my nephew and long-time fishing buddy, Matt, we set out on a mission to land the lunkers at one of his secret fishing holes.

Dating back to when Matt was just a little tike, we’ve had this tradition. The first one to catch a fish gets the bragging rights for the year. There are no contests for quantity, and certainly no celebrations for snagging a fish stick (a stick in the lake that gets pulled up by our lures).

Well, I’d barely managed to get my line wet before Matt declared that he’d had a hit.

Oh boy, the competition had begun!

Nephew Zach and I were sharing one fishing spot and Matt was across from us as we tossed out our daredevils and slowly reeled them back toward shore.

My senses were on high alert, watching the water and our lines, breathing in the fresh country air and soaking up the sunlight as I carefully released my line to avoid the weeds and the rocks.

My first catch of the 2014 fishing season.

I was so focused on landing a lunker that I didn’t realize what was going on across the pond … at least not until the laughter started.

Matt was trying to fish and yet keep his three-year-old son, Brody, entertained. It didn’t require a whole lot of effort, considering Brody had a fishing pole of his own — one with a sinker, but not a hook.

“Why don’t you have a hook on his line?” I asked.

Matt’s reply was that Brody would get a fish hook on the end of his line when Matt had more time to work with him on his fishing skills.

As this was our first fishing expedition of the season — and one for bragging rights — it was not one of those times to teach Brody.

So, there was Brody, casting his line back and forth not unlike I would envision a fly fisherman. He had the same intent look that Matt and I had on our faces.

Nephew Zach is trying to look upset after I caught my second pike. :)

“I can see why he doesn’t have a hook!”

Matt smiled and nodded in agreement.

A short while later, Brody exclaimed that he caught a big fish — a shark!

It turns out he just lodged his sinker between the rocks, but it could have been a big fish — a sinker-eating fish.

And there we have it, the first fish tale of the season, courtesy of the cutest little three-year-old who wants to be “just like daddy.”

My last catch of the night was the biggest, a 27-inch pike. He also swallowed the daredevil and once Nephew Zach retrieved the lure, it was rendered useless.

Oh, and by the way, it was Matt who lured in the first fish of the season and garnered the bragging rights for yet another year.

After his catch, I landed three northern pike of my own, but who’s counting!

A huge thanks to Nephew Zach for taking all three lunkers off my line. Next time, I’m apparently supposed to let him catch a fish. I have a 10-day fishing and fun vacation, starting today, to work on that, I guess.

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