Along The Trail 5-26-16

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Editor’s Note: ‘Along the Trail’ is a weekly column written by David Hewitt of Switzerland County; and covers all things dealing with the outdoors, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship.

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“What do you wanna do?”

“I don’t know, what do you wanna do?”

“I don’t know, what do you want to do?”

How many times do we all have this conversation? Whether it’s about what to do, where to go, where to eat, etc?

Being the parent of an 18 year old young man, this discussion happens all too often.

A lazy sunny, Sunday afternoon. Bluebird skies, high, thin clouds and a comfortable breeze made the choice easy. I asked the kid, “Do you want to go fishing?” The words barely out of my mouth before he answered, “Sure”

We gathered our rods and tossed a tackle box in the back of the truck and headed out.

Our ride to the pond was filled with chatter back and forth. Upcoming graduation, summer jobs and preparing for college, typical topics of conversation. The drive passes by quickly and we make our way down the drive to the pond. My son instantly hooks up with a spawned, thin bass on the first cast while I watch on from across the water and my mind drifts back to a time where the boy was a pudgy 5 year old fishing the same bank.

Our fishing is quiet, as we work our way around the pond. The gentle breeze bounces the cattails and surface of the water sparkles under the bright sun. A splash and the kid’s rod bends under the weight of a decent bass. The green sides of the fighter reflect and shine as the fish clears the surface of the in one last jump in an attempt to throw the hook free. My boy hoists the bass up from across the way and grins and he dips the fish back into the water and sets it free.

We fish on for the better part of two hours.

I pull a few chunky bluegills from the water and catch several paper thin crappies, thinking they might be destined for the frying pan. I toss some of them into the fish basket with thoughts of fillets and a side of mac and cheese. My boy keeps working for bass, fishing his way around the pond, wading through the thigh, high weeds, wearing only shorts and tennis shoes and I shake my head thinking if I were dressed like that, I’d come away with sunburn, ticks and a chigger infestation, but for some reason, the kid has always been immune to those sorts of things.

The bite slows down and without saying a word to each other, we both know it’s time to head home. I look at the dozen or so panfish in the basket and decide to let them swim again and release them back into the green water. We walk back to the truck, his long stride hard for me to match and again, my thoughts go back in time to a place where he had a hard time matching me step for step, but tried his best to keep up.

We dump our gear into the bed of the truck and head home.

The ride is quiet, he looks out the passenger window, checks his cell phone from time to time, but we are both content with the day. I savor every second of it because I know these days are racing to an end and I am grateful for the young man in the seat next to me for the lifetime of memories our hunting and fishing trips have given to me.

– David Hewitt