I admit it. I didn’t get out fishing at all this past weekend. I had good intentions…even putting some work Friday into getting the boat ready to go, but it wasn’t to be. It never left the trailer.
I know, the fishing opener in northern Wisconsin is practically a holiday. All you had to do was drive around the area a little on Saturday to see that it wasn’t any ordinary weekend. We had to run a few family errands, and everywhere we went we saw trucks hauling boats loaded down with fishing gear. Despite the poor weather, area boat landings were thick with boats and trailers. Some die-hards even watch their watches, waiting for the stroke of midnight to launch the boat in pursuit of walleyes.
I love to fish, but I don’t live and die with the sport. When talking with a friend and fellow angler last Thursday, I realized I’m not alone. He, too, was considering heading out opening day, but was conserned about a weather forcast that was calling for gusty winds and rain–not just a minor storm, but a long, soaking-type rain that would last most of the weekend. I’ve fished in rains like that before. Even if the fish are biting (which they rarely are it seems with my luck), it still isn’t confortable. I chose not to fish.
Instead we got some chores done around the house. We went to a birthday party for one of my son’s friends. We watched a movie. I took a nap. It wasn’t an overly productive day, but the type of day that often comes this time of year, when rains are prevalent, and often seem to come on my days off.
That evening, at around 8 p.m., I was tucking in my son, Garrett. He had just celebrated his 3rd birthday on Friday…complete with cake, presents, a visit from his grandparents and even a pi’ata (courtesy of my co-workers and an office Cinco de Mayo party). He had a great time at his friend’s party on Saturday, too. But as I lifted his quilt up and nuzzled his Teddy bear in next to him, he looked up and me with a puzzled expression.
“Daddy, I thought we were going fishing today. Isn’t it opening day?”
He was right. I wracked my brain to try to figure our how he knew Saturday was the first day of fishing season. I finally dawned on me when I remembered that he was in the living room with me, playing with his toys as I watched the evening news Friday. He wasn’t paying attention, but when they started a story on the next day’s fishing opener, he looked up and watched intently. As he watched video of kids and adults reeling in all sorts of fish, he exclaimed, “Wow!” and “Ahh!” Following the story, he asked me if we were going to go catch fish like that. I said, “Sure buddy…we sure will.”
I’m convinced that all day Saturday, Garrett was waiting for me to hook up the boat and take him out fishing. He didn’t understand why we never went. When he asked why we didn’t go fishing while laying in bed that evening, all I could think of for a response was, “Maybe tomorrow.”
Well, a wet tomorrow came and went. We didn’t go fishing. It was cold, windy and raining…weather that we often see in northern Wisconsin this time of year. Still, I feel guilty. I’ll make it up to him, sure, but there will never be another 2012 fishing opener. I let the opportunity go. I’m not going to let it happen again.
Come the first Saturday in May next year, you can bet Garrett and I will be out on the water.
Above, my son Garrett holds his first landed fish, caught on Lake Julia on Father’s Day last summer while fishing with me and his grandfather. A Father’s Day fishing trip has become a tradition for my dad and I, and I hope the fishing opener will be a tradition for me and my son.