I've been reluctant to put much "personal" stuff on my personal page, but I'm having a change of heart. When I was growing up, it seems that all we did on summer weekends was to go fishing on Oneida Lake. My parents had a 16 foot, fiberglass MFG boat whose open bow I became intimately familiar with over years of weekend fishing trips. Inevitably, this would mean hours and hours of sitting on one one side of the boat drifting east with the prevailing wind, facing the sun to the west with our faces catching the full effect of the sun, magnified by the reflection from the water. I remember intensely closing my eyes and being rocked by the waves with monofilament line wrapped around my index finger, waiting for the slow and steady tug of a walleye or the sudden jerk of a silver bass or yellow perch. The open bow seemed to shrink as I grew up and tried to make my space on the boat more comfortable by stuffing life preservers around me. I swore the seats got harder each year. I'm sure I must have complained a lot about the monotony. I forget...too much sun.
I also remember catching SO MANY fish. I suppose that if you have 7 lines hanging off the side of the boat (my parents occasionally would use two poles each) and spend an entire day on a lake drifting across productive areas, its hard to imagine NOT catching a lot of fish. However, I've never seen anyone else come out of that lake with fish like we did on Saturday nights. We would fill coolers full of perch and haul stringers of big walleye out of there every weekend. We reached our limit EVERY TIME. At least that's my story...and I'm sticking to it.
I recall doing this as a family. We all sat in the car for that hour long drive, we all fished, we all learned to put the worms on, take the fish off and hold them out for pictures (hold it out straight to the camera...so it looks BIGGER). It amazes me how our photo-shy family seems to have albums and albums of pictures of us behind fish...but little else. About the only thing we didn't all do was make the bologna sandwiches that sustained us. That was a job that mom did. She made sure we were all fed and slathered in sunscreen so that our pasty Irish skin wouldn't blister in the sun. We all ate at the same greasy spoons at night, too. For many years we ate at a bar at "Doug's-Rent-A-Boat" on the south shore. One year my parents bought me a t-shirt from Doug's that had a drawing of a big jumping walleye. I kept the shirt until just last year.
My family loves all of this. When we get together, I like to tell them if I've been fishing, where I went, what I tried and what I caught and I like to hear what fishing they've been up to too. I made one of my infrequent calls home last night after coming home from fishing with my 2 year old son, Alex. He wasn't home, so I left a message. I wanted to tell Dad about the 15 1/2 inch largemouth we caught off the shore of Cazenovia Lake. I wanted to tell about the little piece of state land that I never saw before on the east shore and how the sun reflected off the lake and onto Alex's face as the sun descended in the west.