Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fishing Trips

I find it fascinating how certain tastes, sounds and smells can immediately take someone back to a specific memory.  Looking for a late night snack, I pulled out a box of Cheese-Its.  I don't know if it was strictly that sharp salty cheese flavor or a combination of that and looking through photos for the blog, but immediately I was 10 again and fishing on Pepop's boat.
That's me perched on the bow behind Pepop's black lab Sheba.  
It was always a wrestling match with Sheba over who would stand/sit at the point of the bow.  
Sheba typically won.
She was known to knock people off of things like piers and boats.
(I can't help but chuckle over the memory of Sheba knocking my cousin Kelly face first into the marsh muck at low tide- if only I had a camera then)
Pepop was always at the helm and always in the same attire.
Every summer, Pepop would take all of the kids out on his boat Pigpen to go fishing.  
Grandmother and Aunt Patsy would send us next door with some snacks, which were almost always Cheese-Its and cans of Slice.  
 It apparently had 10% real fruit juice in it. 
At Pepop's house we gathered up our fishing rods and headed to the boat.  
Pepop's rods were unique in that all the hooks were covered by Memom's cigarette butts.  
She was always afraid that someone would run a hook through their skin (which I've done).

Once aboard Pigpen, we would head out to the river.  
Once in our spot, we would all wait patiently for Pepop to bait our hooks, which was always a dangerous operation.
At  the most there would be 5 kids with swinging fishing rigs on a small work boat.  
Someone would be moving empty hooks to get bait, 
someone else would be moving loaded hooks out of the way and 
someone would be casting- and that meant pulling the the rod way back before flinging it forward.  Everyone wanted to be the one with the furthest and best cast.  
Everything is a competition after all. 
It was a dangerous maypole dance of un-cigarette-butted fishing hooks.

Not being known for patience, I usually felt something tugging my line every minute or so and was continuously reeling in the line to check the bait.  
Sometimes I would find a blue crab on the line and sometimes I'd find my bait gone
but most times I just found that the bait was intact and I had nothing.
  On the hundredth time I checked my line, I swore I had something.  
My cousins groaned and laughed and made fun of me- until I pulled a spot on the boat.  
I had hooked it in the stomach as I reeled the line in.
It didn't really matter how I got it, I was vindicated.
A spot I caught when I was 2-3 on my dad's boat, not a Pepop trip (note my chicken pox)
Another time I checked my line and saw the rod bend in a U shape.  
I got excited and I jerked to set the bait and started reeling in my catch. 
It was heavy whatever it was.  
I was thinking it was probably a shark, maybe even a Great White
I jerked and reeled and jerked and reeled and as I jerked one final time I simultaneously heard Pepop tell me to stop and suddenly the rig burst from the water and sailed right past Pepop's head.  
I had apparently hooked the bottom of the boat (nearly hooked Pepop's head).

At some point Memom would radio Pepop and ask him if we were all wearing our life jackets.  
This prompted Pepop to quickly tell us, "Put them on! Put them on!" and once we were all standing with our life preservers on, he would radio back to her that yes, we were wearing them (and then they were taken off).
Eventually, some of us would get bored with fishing.  
The snacks would come out and we would sit around, 
rolling with the waves drinking warm Slice and eating Cheese-Its.  
I usually got tired of Cheese-Its and would begin feeding the seagulls.  
Of course I had to do this on the sly as Pepop did not have much love for the seagulls (since one pooped on his shoulder). So I would just quietly drop them over the side of the boat like a trail of bread crumbs.
It never takes long for seagulls to swarm.
This was always Pepop's clue that it was time to pack it up.  
I miss those trips.
I miss that smelly sea green boat.

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