Sunday, September 4, 2022

It's August and Time to Go Fishing with My Brother

Last week was the annual fishing day with my brother and sister-in-law. Each year around August, for about the past 25 years, we have gotten together to take a day and go fishing. His birthday is in the beginning of August and as a birthday present for him, we go fishing together and then have a fish fry afterwards. My brother and I have so many memories of fishing when we were kids. And each year we just keep building on those memories. 

During this past year my brother had major back surgery and while he is doing great, there is still a need for some caution and taking it easy so he doesn’t strain his back and have pain. So once we figured out the date, they decided to come up the day before the fishing expedition so he wouldn’t be in a long car ride and then sit for hours in the boat. They would stay in the C.O.W.(cabin on wheels) with all the amenities of a cabin.

My Best Half got the camper all parked and leveled as best he could, put water in the tanks, turned on the gas for hot water, and plugged it into electric in case the a/c was needed. It was all set, even with 2 chairs and a small table in case they wanted to sit under the awning in the evening.

They arrived around 4 and we showed them their space and helped unload their gear into the camper. And then we all went into the “Big house” as we called it. Tacos were the order of the day for supper. Homemade salsa with chips from my sister-in-law and we sat and chatted til supper was ready. We chatted about the upcoming day of fishing and previous fishing trips over the past 25 years we had been doing this. 

Most of our fishing trips involved each of us in a kayak and fishing near each other. There were a few times when it was windy so we tied a rope to each other’s kayak and one person had an anchor down. And no matter what, each year we did the kayak fishing, my brother always, and I mean always, wound up in the water. Whether it was getting into his kayak or just slipping as he was walking into the water, he wound up completely soaked. 

Last year was the first year he didn’t get soaked. I’m thinking it was because we took the boat and were being overly cautious because of his back. He was a month away from surgery and had a lot of pain. Or maybe it could have been that in the past I may have possibly let go of the kayak when he was getting in. Sometimes as the years go by, little sisters need to get back at big brothers for years of torment when we were younger.

Well evening came and we all sat just about dozing off in front of the TV, so we headed to bed. Them to the camper and us to our own bed. It was all of 9 PM. We all rationalized it wasn’t that we were old, it was because we would be getting up early in the morning to hit the lake. Not too sure we convinced ourselves of that, but we were all sleeping by about 10.

Morning came and it was a little chilly, around 55 degrees, but beautiful blue skies and the sun shining and warming up the air. A perfect day for fishing and hopefully followed by catching a bunch of fish for a fish fry. The days before and the days to follow our fishing day were full of clouds and rain and thunderstorms and lightning, so we were all pretty grateful for the perfect morningwe were having.

We got to the boat landing and put the boat in. It has always been my job to get the boat ready to launch while my Best Half backs the trailer down the ramp. As my brother was carefully stepping into the boat, I realized water was rushing into the boat. In my excitement to get on the lake, I forgot to put the plug in the drain. Water was coming in by the gallons! 

My brother got out back on to the dock as fast as he was able, all the while water still rushed into the boat. My Best Half ran to get the trailer to load the boat on to it so we could drain out all the water. Meanwhile water continued to flow into the boat. Boy did I feel like a rookie at the boat launch. Luckily there were no others waiting to launch their boats. 

After about 10 minutes of draining water from the boat, we launched it again. This time with the drain plug in the boat. You don’t have to hit me over the head twice. I wouldn’t forget that again. We all got in and headed to the fishing spot I usually go to when I am by myself. 

We were the only ones on the lake most of the morning.The calmness of the lake made it possible to see the fish in the water by the boat. Loons were calling and big fish were jumping out in the middle of the lake. It was the perfect day to be on the water fishing.

The fish were biting non-stop from the moment we put our lines in. Some were too little to keep, and they were coming fast and furious, so we were picky about the size we kept. As the morning went on and we were getting closer to leaving, we started to keep the panfish to have for lunch. By the time we headed to the boat landing, we had a huge mess of sunnies. We'd caught our limit.

Back at the boat launch, I got the boat back up on the trailer. Once again, my job is to wade into the water and reel it onto the trailer while my Best Half fanagles the trailer down the ramp. Once back on the trailer, I pulled out the drain plug and a little more water came out from the previous fiasco of launching the boat earlier. When the boat was on the trailer I realized the boat was crooked and I wasn’t able to put on the springy things that hold the back of the boat to the trailer down. 

So once again my Best Half backed the trailer into the lake and I slid the boat off into the water and back on to the trailer straight. Only to realize, once again, foolish me forgot the drain plug. Water came rushing into the boat. Once up on the trailer, the boat gave up the water inside it, so it was all good. This time it seemed like it was more than the first time with no plug. I will never live that down from the fishing party. I am such a rookie.

When we got home, I got out my filet knives and went to work on filettng the fish, all 35 of them we had kept. I am the only one who knows how to filet fish. So for the past 25 years, this has been my brother’s birthday gift. I filet the fish, and  my brother sits and looks through some books on the table with my Best Half. My Sister-in-law got the other food ready. After the fish were ready we sat down to fresh sweet corn picked from the yard, fried potatoes and a huge platter of fresh sunnies. It was the annual feast of Summer.

The afternoon went by fast,eating and talking. Pretty soon it was time for them to make the trek home. It was another most memorable fishing time once again. My brother and I had time in the boat to remember fishing with our parents and older brother when we were just old enough to be trusted not to throw the fishing pole overboard. In Minnesota that is about 1-2 years old. 

Our mom was the one who loved to fish. Our Dad would take us all out in the small boat and let our mom fish while he spent the whole time baiting hooks, taking fish off our lines and countless hours untangling our lines when we would try to cast at the same time. That man deserved a medal after a day in the boat with my brothers and me. I have so many memories of our mom cleaning fish after fish while our dad sat at the table with a beer. I've realized over the years that may be why I clean the fish in my family.

It was another memorable day on the record in August. 26 years of the annual fishing event only gets better with age. Here’s hoping for another decade or 2 of our annual fishing expeditions with my brother and sister-in-law. Happy Birthday Bro!