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Heeeeee's baaaack! :grin: :grin: :grin:

The Rod

It was after Grandpa died and James was cleaning out a closet that he came upon it. It was an old and beat up yellow fiberglass Fenwick spinning rod, a Mitchell 300 reel and an old creel tucked back in a corner.

At first he was just going to toss it in the pile of coats, hats, tools and so many other odds and ends that were being readied for the estate sale planned for the next week. But as he grabbed the rod, in fact that very instant that he touched it, it was like a small current of electricity passed through his entire body. Not a jolt, but more like one feels as static electricity builds before a jolt.

And he felt Grandpa.

Looking at the rod he noticed a piece of paper that had been wrapped around the cork handle and attached with a rubber band. He sat down in Gramp’s overstuffed chair, unwrapped the paper and found a note.

Here is what it said:

Jimmy,

Since you are reading this note, I must have left this earth. At least in body, though my spirit lives on. And I am here, right now, with you. If you try, Jimmy, you will hear my voice as you are reading this.

I am leaving this outfit for you. It may not look like much, and it isn’t compared to all the new gear that is out there nowadays. But it had special significance to me, and maybe it will to you too.

You don’t fish, do you Jimmie? Your dad didn’t much either, which is my fault. You see, while I was always looking forward to my next fishing adventure, your dad was at first too young, then I was too impatient, to take him. When he was little he couldn’t go to Canada with me to fish for Northern Pike or hike into the treacherous canyons of the White Coho River, and I didn’t want to watch over him streamside when I fished closer to home.

When he got older I made him go for longer than was fair for a youngster to expect to sit in a boat, especially in the nasty weather we get in the Northwest.

All of that made him resentful of fishing, if not of me in general, and it is why he would not let you come on fishing trips with me as you grew up. Can’t say as I blame him, but I wish it hadn’t happened that way.

But now you are a young man, and perhaps you will find the passion that held me captive for all of my years.

Take this outfit and do with it what you choose.

Love,

Grandpa Ben

Jimmy read the note. Then he read it again. And then he read it a third time. Each time he read it, Grandpa Ben’s voice was what he heard with every word. Finally he got up, with a tear in his eye, and took the beat up rod and reel and the small creel home.

For about a week he left the gear in the corner of the family room, next to the TV. He thought he would mount the whole thing on the wall, as sort of a shrine to Grandpa, but his wife, Martha, wasn’t really keen on that idea.

Then on Saturday morning he picked the rod up and that same feeling hit him all over again. It was like Grandpa was right there with him. And for a moment he was consumed with the thought of fishing!

What did he know about fishing? Almost nothing. From his dad’s description, fishing was, “Hours of boredom interspersed for the lucky few with random moments of sheer panic”. He had never even cast a lure, let alone caught a fish.

But he opened the creel and saw a plastic box containing a few swivels, some 8-pound leader material, and several spinners. There was also a plastic card that described how to tie several knots.

He again sat down in an overstuffed chair, this time his own, and studied the card. Then he tried a few of the knots, unsuccessfully at first, but it was almost like he was getting help holding the line after a few tries. And he knew who was there.

Suddenly he jumped out of the chair and decided right then and there that he would head down to the mouth of Cascadia Creek, where it met with the mighty Toongonka, and try casting a spinner.

A short drive from his house and there he was. He was the only person there. Had he been more seasoned he would have known that there were few fish at this spot this time of year in general, and especially by mid-morning. But since he was not biased by what other, more knowledgeable, fishermen knew, he tied one of the Mepps spinners he found in the creel onto to the leader he attached to the swivel and was ready for his first cast.

Jimmy was a natural athlete, yet it surprised him how easy it felt to make that cast. The lure flew out into the river farther than he expected it would, and while surprised, he was also pleased with his obvious innate skill. Oddly though, it was almost as though it wasn’t even his arm that made the cast.

He cranked the old coffee grinder reel and brought the spinner back across the flat water to him. Nothing. No fish. Hmmm…, he thought, and figured it wasn’t to be. But then he made another cast, and another, and soon he was lost in thoughts about Grandpa and how he must have stood at this very spot with this very outfit and made the same casts. And though he felt the strong emotion of sorrow that he did not get to stand by Gramps as he was fishing, he also felt good because he almost felt Grandpa was there right now, watching him.

He had lost count if it was his 20th or 50th or 100th cast. He had lost all track of time. In fact, he was lost in his space, seeing the Osprey hovering above the nest holding its offspring, when it happened.

WHAM! Suddenly the rod was bent and line was zipping off the old Mitchell like it was attached to a dragster! He knew enough from instinct to not touch the reel, but his heart pounded so hard he could hear it and it felt like it might jump clear out of his chest. He was shaking all over his entire body! WOW! “What am I supposed to do????!!!”, he wondered aloud.

It was then that he noticed an old-timer had made his way down to the bank next to him. He gave Jimmy a few pointers about using the rod to work the fish, how to hold it, when to crank the reel and when not to and the like, and after what seemed an eternity of tug of war, the fish, a huge fish really, came to the bank. Jimmy was still shaking and as giddy as a 6 year old on Christmas morning.

The old timer gently picked up the salmon and moved it further on the bank. He produced a pair of needle nosed pliers and removed the treble hook from the salmon’s jaw, and said to Jimmy, “I can see this is your first salmon, isn’t it son? If so, you should put this one back so you might catch more.”

Jimmy thought about how Martha would never believe that he caught a fish! He thought about the wonderful meals it would make. He thought about how his golfing buddies would be in awe and all the other reasons to keep it when suddenly a realization came over him. He COULD catch more!

So he told the old timer to release that fish and he turned to head home.

As he walked back up to the car he heard the old man chuckle and say, “You look just like my old friend Ben Stone used to look when he landed a fish!”

Jimmy stopped, shocked, and turned to speak to the old man. But the old timer was no longer there. It was as though he had vanished into thin air, or perhaps had never actually been there at all.

And Jimmy was hooked.

:cheers:

[ 10-01-2003, 05:14 AM: Message edited by: Hogmaster ]
 

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Chicken Soup for the Fisherman's Soul. Funny how it's satisfying, but leaves you wanting more.

Kudos, Hog, kudos.

Skein
 

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Hog you made me cry! I just couldn't help but think of my Grandma when I read that story! Yes My Grandma. Not my Grandpa. She loved to go and would be ready in a moments notice! I know when I am going to catch a fish cause my pole starts to vibrate. Then when I do, I know it is a Grandma fish cause I always see a rainbow!
 

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I told Gary I would print this out and read it tonight. I couldn't wait.

It is golden, Gary!!!



This should have gone to Chicken Soup!

I bet there is still time! Want to?
Jen
 

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made me dig out and old yellow Pole with a 300 that belong to and old friend who passed away last year i will use it one more time thanks
 

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Awesome story. Made me think of my grandpa and fishing with him during the summers in my childhood.
Thanks for the memory.
 

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Got my great grandfathers split bamboo fly rod on one wall and my dads beryllium with Michell 300 on the other. Also have dads old creel in the front room. Fishing has been a way of life in my family. In the old days it was a matter of something to eat,but we're a little more refined now days.
 

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The Hogmaster is back!!! :grin: A truely AWESOME STORY MAN!!
 

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:cheers: Thanks Gary :cheers:
 

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Welcome back Gary.

About par for your course.

Mark and the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Wow!

Went out for dinner and found all these comments when I got home.

I am humbled! Thanks for the props one and all.


Jennie, thanks for the offer, and I would be interested except it is too long for them.

Eric, good thing he happened to choose to fish on the annual "Free Fishing Day"! :grin: :grin: :grin:

:cheers:
 
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