Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hunting with Granddad

                At times my grandfather Edison Beck would take my brother, Ken and me hunting or fishing with him. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. It was a rare occasion and that was why they were so special.

                One year Granddad took us deer hunting with him. The snow was so deep and it was hard walking. The snow reached to midway up his thighs.
                The thing that I remember the most was that my younger brother was struggling to keep up with us; even when he walked in my granddad’s and my steps. Ken had to lift his feet high or he would trip and by lifting his feet and heels so high, the snow was kicked up on his back and his butt.
                Granddad became a bit short-tempered when Ken lagged behind. We hadn’t seen even one deer. I know that Ken was tired, because I was getting weary.
                Granddad handed his gun to me and walked back the trail to where Ken had stopped and was standing and waiting.
                Granddad grabbed his arm and spun him around, brushing the snow from Ken. “Stand still.” Granddad said, “You’re going to have a wet butt and get cold. Stay close.”
                I guess Granddad was tired of not seeing game and having to watch us close. 

                Much of the time, when we fished, we fished local lakes or some pay-to-fish lakes. The one we went to the most was a private stocked lake and we would fish all day for a couple of dollars. It was a time and p[lace where we could sit in the shade and relax. We would dig bait, take snacks, and something to drink. Loading it all in his tan Nash Rambler, he would drive us to the pay lake and we would fish.

                One time, he took us on a “long distance” to fish High Point Lake that straddles Maryland and Pennsylvania. The lake had all types of fish from trout and bass to blue gills and pike. Most of what we were catching were blue gills and were too small to keep.
                We were getting ready to leave. Winding in the lines and securing the hooks one at a time, we were packing things up. Granddad said, “I think I snagged something.”
                “I’ll wade in and see if I can loosen it.”
                I took the rod and planned to wade into the water, but when I began to reel it in, it was loose. It felt like Granddad had hooked onto something heavy. It felt like a branch of a tree. There was no resistance, no fighting, nothing that would indicate there was a fish on the line, but there was.
                I slowly worked the line in, closer to the shore. As the end of the line neared the shore, I could see there was a large fish on the line. It was at least fifteen inches long. It didn’t fight at all until it was pulled into the shallow water.  At the edge of the water it did try to swim away and flipped once or twice, but it didn’t last long.
                When I got it up onto the shore, Granddad said it was a carp and gave it to me. I had a fish atlas that showed pictures of the different kinds of fish at home. Comparing the fish to the pictures, I identified it as a small mouth bass. Why it didn’t fight, I am not sure, but it did taste good.

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