It’s the adrenaline, I think.
The reason for fishing: adrenaline, and fish, of course. Eating fresh fish cooked in butter, can you see it now: a cast iron pan, on a small beach fire, lightly floured fish fillets barely touching each other, speckled seasoning showing against the crisp fillets, and bubbling butter sizzling up between the them? You may as well put a few potatoes in there, some sliced white onion, maybe a can of beans and another of cream corn, while you are there on the edge of the fire, squatting beside the boat run up in the sand.
Can you smell that: lake, wood smoke, fresh fish, onions and potatoes in the cast iron skillet? Bubbling beans and corn, still in the opened cans? Can you hear the crackling fire?
Eat the fish gingerly direct out of the pan with nearly burning fingers, right there on the beach.
My hypothesis: a fishing gene. Either you have it like I do, or you don’t. Me, blessed or cursed with it depending whether you are fishing with me, or waiting for that one last cast to wrap it up before heading home.
My preference is a stiff fast graphite rod and braided FireWire, and left-hand crank open-faced reels. The combination makes casting long and smooth, launching a spoon or crank bait just to the edge of the weeds. The transmission of the tap-tap immediate. A strike. That tap-tap flips a switch in me. It is glorious. If we share the boat, you will likely be amused to see the excitement, hear the giggling of a fully grown small child tickle careening out of control. That’s me, with a solid rod-bending strike.
Rod forward. Hook the line with your right hand forefinger. Open the bale with fingers of your left hand. Cock the rod over your right shoulder to 2 o’clock, slowly. Crack the rod foreword to 10 o’clock sharp stop. Release your trigger finger. Point the tip of the rod at the target. Follow through. Relax. Breathe out and let the braided line follow a heavy brass spoon over a fast gentle arc toward the target. Splash. Close the bale. Wait one, wait two. Crank. Crank, crank, crank. Easy. Crank, crank, crank. Easy.
Tap…tap…wham! A pike. The switch that flips the adrenaline. The tug of war explodes with yards of fishing line spooling off as your prize fish heads for the deep, or the weeds. The rod bows to the fish, me alternating pumping the rod, and reeling back the line the fish has taken.
The fish tires quickly. The bent rod telegraphs a good fish. The big aluminum handled net slips in the deep water, lifts the fish clear and into the boat. Nine pounds on the scale. A keeper, well above the legal 63-centimeter minimum.
Time for lunch. Now where is that cast iron frying pan?