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Stories From and About Women

The Reel Thing,
By Donna Dove of River Myst

I knew from the red sky the night before that this day was going to be beautiful. A perfect day for fishing. Now, if I could talk someone into going with me, I could take the canoe and go down to the lake.

"Hey, Charlie, "I poked my 16-year-old son in the shoulder, breaking his trance. "What are you doing today?

"Why?" he asked in his oh-no-mom's going-to-make-me-do-something voice.

"Well, I thought you might want to go fishing with me. We could take the canoe and go over to the lake. I'll even buy you lunch. We'll stop and get something and eat at the lake."

"Oh, I don't know, Mom. Can't you find someone else to go with you? I wanted to finish reading this book and I don't really like to fish." The relief in his voice at not having been asked to really do anything slowly changing to boredom.

"I know, but this will be fun. I'll show you how to fly fish. And besides we haven't done anything for a while. It'll be a mother-son day. Come on, how about it." I pleaded. I knew I could get to him with the mother-son thing.

"Oh, okay, you win." Charlie said getting up from his chair. "But I'm not guaranteeing that I'll have fun. And I have to be back by 4:00 because Jim, Sam and I are getting together. I'm not really into this fishing thing. Don't take a rod for me. I guess I can take my camera and take pictures while you fish."

Pleased with myself for having succeeded, I gathered up my fishing gear and hurried out to the car. Within minutes I was ready to go. Loading the canoe onto the roof of the car took a little longer. We only dropped it twice before we finally managed to heave it onto the roof. Luckily, the husband wasn't around to give instructions or shake his head disapprovingly. After stopping to pick up our lunches and a license for Charlie, we arrived at the lake by 10:00 a.m.

"So, Mom, how do we do this paddling thing." Charlie asked as he climbed into the front of the canoe almost tipping it over.

As I steadied the canoe and climbed in, I chuckled politely, hoping he was joking. "The main thing, Charlie, is not to place your hands on either side of the canoe. That way your weight won't shift to one side and tip us over. Since you're up front you just paddle on whatever side is comfortable to you. I'll do the steering. This will be fun, you'll see."

"It's already fun, Mom," Charlie reassured me, paddling us in circles. Before long our paddling was well synchronized and we headed towards my favorite fishing spot The Cove. The Cove was shaded by overhanging branches and one corner was filled with lily pads. A tree had fallen since the year before and was partially submerged. The perfect fishing spot.

We anchored far enough away so we wouldn't disturb the fish but close enough for my beginner's cast to reach the tree. Charlie pulled out the lunch and began chomping on his sandwich, watching me put together my rod.

"So, Mom," he said with an eagerness showing in his face that I hadn't seen in a very long time, 'what is so great about this fly fishing."

"I don't suppose you would like to try it," I asked knowing I was going to regret my offer.

"Oh, I don't know" he said nonchalantly, "I'll just watch you for a few minutes and see how its done. Then maybe later I'll give it a try."

For the next 10 minutes I fished that log, pulling out 3 nice size bluegills. As I fished, Charlie munched away questioning me about technique and what I was doing and why. As he took the last bite of his sandwich, I hooked a "really big un." Releasing it back into the lake, I readied myself for my next cast as Charlie reached for the rod.

"Okay, I'm ready to try it now." Taking the rod he sat back on the seat positioning himself just right. "So, I just do the 10 and 1 o'clock thing and that's all there is to it, huh?" With that, he whipped the rod backwards. As soon as the tip hit the water behind him he whipped the rod forward, the line landing in a lump. He looked at me and grinned. "Hey, this is fun." And the whipping began again.

The rest of the afternoon I ate lunch, paddled the canoe, dodged flying hooks, and gave as much motherly fishing advice as was welcomed. But most of all, I listened to Charlie as he rambled on about school, his friends, his outlook on life arid how he felt about different things. And as we heaved the canoe back on the car for the ride home, I knew that we were going to survive these teenage years, and Charlie was going to do okay.

Back at home, after we dropped the canoe onto the lawn, Charlie headed for the house. Suddenly, he turned around. "Oh, hey, Mom, I had a nice time. I can see why you like to go fly fishing. Maybe we can have another mother-son day sometime." He grinned, turned and walked into the house.

Another mother-son day. That would be nice, I thought. But next time I'm taking two rods.


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