Of First Fish And Lasting Memories.

A few weeks ago, Nephew Matt texted me a picture of his 6-year-old son, Brody. The boy — fondly referred to as Mini-Matt — was grinning from ear-to-ear as he held onto the lip of a catfish. It was his first catch of the fishing season, Matt boasted, and all I could think of was, wow, he looks so much like his daddy.

Brody loves to fish, loves to hunt, loves the outdoors — just like Matt. It makes this “Auntie Juwee” proud!

Great-Nephew Brody is all smiles after catching a catfish earlier this month.

You see, Matt was about 4 years old when I started taking him fishing with me. He was, and will forever be my fishing buddy — even though I now have a new crew, the Friday Night Fish Club (FNFC), to share my time with on the lakeshore.

Matt’s first fishing pole featured the Peanuts gang, and the bobber was none other than Snoopy, laying on his back on a red dog pillow. As I recall, his rig that first summer was pretty popular with the bullheads. If I close my eyes, I can still hear the giggles as he reeled in the lunkers.

It became a tradition that the one to catch the first fish of the season earned bragging rights for the year. More often than not, he caught the fish … and I caught the fish stick (aka, the sunken branch that my fish hook inevitably snagged.)

So it seems this year that Brody won the contest — he was out fishing a full two weeks before I even cast a line in the water. Matt promises the three of us will go fishing together this year. It shouldn’t be too difficult — they only live half an hour away.

Yet between my schedule and Matt’s even busier schedule, finding the time for a fishing expedition isn’t so easy.

Last Saturday, a few of us FNFC members took advantage of a beautiful Minnesota spring day to hit the lake — three lakes to be exact. What did we catch? Absolutely nothing.

I never promised to be a good fishing guide.

Despite the lack of action, it was a wonderful day. We sat in our lawn chairs and soaked up the sunshine at the end of a fishing pier. I daydreamed of hosting a backyard barbecue (or if we could be so lucky, a Saturday night fish fry), taking a summer road trip to a lakeside cabin, and, of course, catching some fish.

So we weren’t successful this time, oh well — it’s early in the season, the FNFC members remind me. There will be plenty more opportunities to catch fish.

Perhaps next time I should call Great-Nephew Brody to get some fishing tips before we hit the lake.