Last year my wife bought me a fishing-forecaster watch as a gift. Since then, whenever I tell here I’m going to go fishing, she asks me what the success forecast is according to the watch. So far, though I’ll admit to keeping less than stellar records on the matter, the watch seems to be pretty darn accurate – plus it keeps time too.
So about two months ago, my bride and I made one of our turnaround trips up to Big Bear.
We arrived late Sunday night and spent the next morning cleaning, maintaining and generally getting the vacation home ready for the impending change from Summer to Winter. By mid-afternoon, I was done with mops, brooms and the other assorted instruments of torture that go with house cleaning.
I told my wife I wanted to go fishing.She, naturally, asked what the watch forecasted.
Much to my delight, four-out-of-four little fishy symbols flashed on the screen above the predicted best fishing time of 6:00 pm.
Then, to my further delight, she asked me if she could go too; maybe we could make a date out of it; take a simple picnic dinner and eat it lakeside.
I wondered, ever so briefly, if I had heard her right or if I was feeling the effects from mixing the bleach and ammonia cleaners together again.
Turns out my hearing was just fine and all at once, my heart melted again for the red-headed beauty standing across from me.
I think we broke some sort of human-speed record getting cleaned up and over to the local bait shop where I could pick up a supply of nightcrawlers, which I reckoned would give her the best shot at actually catching something.
Now, she had never been inside Big Bear Sporting Goods, though I have told her about it many times. So while the guy behind the counter and I counted out nightcrawlers, she went…shopping.
Lots of thoughts went through my mind at that moment, but once the panic subsided I took solace in the fact that my beloved did not get a full dose of the shopping gene. She did, however, get the gene for spotting a bargain and about ten minutes later we walked out with a supply of worms, a new collapsible net and a pair of stylish, polarized shades offsetting her auburn locks.
We then drove over to Boulder Bay where we had a pleasant, if not simple, al fresco dinner.
Then, as the magic hour, according to the watch, approached I rigged up a pair of Penrod Extreme rods, baited them up with some fat and sassy nightcrawlers and started fishing.
Sure enough, we started getting hits almost immediately.
I brought in a couple of small Bass right away but try as she might, my wife could not land a single fish. I was starting to worry that she would be discouraged, hate fishing and never want to try it again.
She was having a great time trying to learn the subtly art of angling. Each take was a new challenge and opportunity to her to refine and polish her skills. Each bite was met with as much enthusiasm as if she had already landed a record fish.
As dusk dissolved into full darkness and we packed up to go home, I knew she was “hooked.
So…when the opportunity presented itself for us to again make a turnaround up to Big Bear, I already knew part of our time would be spent fishing.
Sure enough, on our next trip up the hill, she asked me if WE were going to go fishing. We consulted “the watch”, found out that the forecasted time would fit nicely into our schedule and planned accordingly.
This time we were rewarded with an achingly beautiful landscape and an ideal Fall afternoon with temps in the low 70’s and a slight breeze.
It was the kind of sight and experience that takes permanent residence in the memory and makes you smile just thinking about it.
We walked over to the same spot we had tried previously, rigged our gear the same way as last time and began fishing.
Only, we did not get immediate strikes. We fished for an hour without so much as a nibble. We fished for an hour and a half with not so much as a slight bite.
Alas, all my hard work was on the edge of ruin.
The long shadows of the afternoon gave way to deeper shadows of dusk, but still no hits.
Finally, we decided to call it a day.
I was convinced though that I could still coax one hit out of the expedition, so while I broke down my pole I encouraged her to cast just one more time to the edge of a weed mat close to shore.
She did. Mostly to appease me but perhaps with that same streak of optimism I had seen last time. And then her attention was caught by the perky little Pug dog that was taking its owner for a walk on the path behind us.
As she talked to the snorting, little fuzz ball who was hoping to score some doggie snack from a stranger, I saw her bobber dip.
Then it dipped again. Then it dipped yet a third time.
I told her to set the hook. Without missing a beat, she did and I immediately knew she was tied on to a Carp.
The questions and brief looks of panic flew as I coached her on the nuances of fighting a big fish on a little pole. She kept the rod tip high, the drag loose and reeled every time I told her to.
She screamed a little when the drag starting buzzing but I told her that was normal and to wait it out before reeling in.
I secretly prayed that the Carp would not make a blazing run toward the weeds. It didn’t. It zigged and zagged but stayed out in relatively open water. It broke the surface a few times and the sight of the large, bronze fin was plenty of motivation for my wife to keep putting the pressure on.
Finally, she managed to turn the Carp and bring it to net. It was the biggest fish she had ever caught and the perfect ending to a perfect day.
Like I said, it was the kind of sight and experience that takes permanent residence in the memory and makes you smile just thinking about it.
Right then and there I decided that I am really fond of that watch.
And I also love this addiction called Big Bear Fishing.