Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To Give Thanks........

I went out fishing on Monday afternoon for a couple of hours just to enjoy the last hold of the warm weather. I was using a fathead minnow, medium to large size below a slip float. Fishing one of the eddies in the Fox river that I frequent often, I was able to catch a small pike 16 inches long. Surprise to me because I haven't caught a northern pike in that spot in the 16 years I have been fishing the Fox. The weather turned, wind switched from the north, and I started to feel that winter chill. Two days later, after sniffling, sneezing, and coughing more times than I care to mention, I find myself saying Thank You! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, that is normally spent with Shirley's brother Claude and his family in Red bud Illinois. Even though we couldn't make the trip this year due to Shirley's new job at Central Dupage Hospital, we still have allot of things to be thankful for. Since I lost my job in August, we have managed to cut a few corners and skimp on a couple of nights out a month to make ends meet. It hasn't been easy but we are making it work. The extra time on the couch the last 2 days has allowed me to reflect on the wonderful open water fishing season I had in 2009. I don't know if I caught more fish this year than I did last year but I sure had fun trying. Between my best friend Rich and my son Bryan to my nephews Tyler, Danny, Sean and Johnny there are allot of good memories from this year, and that doesn't include the quality time I spent with my brothers. So as I sit here tonight and watch the Hawks skate on the frozen pond to a 7-2 win over the Sharks, I can only dream of what might be on that first ice fishing trip for the winter. Bluegills biting or not I know that I'll have much to be thankful for!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Time for Reflection

Fishing teaches us many things in life. It teaches us patience, understanding and fortitude, but most of all, the time we spend fishing teaches us wisdom. I remember as a young boy some of the conversations I had with my dad out in the boat. Sometimes we would talk about things that were really important, like baseball and girls and fishing. Other outings we would talk about things that to me just weren't very important at all, like being nice to my sisters, or how to get along better in my schoolwork. There were other times that we would discuss very grown up things, like how dad made money at work, and how much certain things cost, and how we got the money to do some of the things we did. I also remember times where we didn't talk much at all, we just enjoyed the warm summer day together. Now every time we went fishing it wasn't always a perfect setting. I remember when we would get out in the boat and dad would forget his smokes and we'd have to go back to the dock to get some. There were the days we would forget the worms in the car and he'd be cussing at me. How many times, my line or his would get stuck on a dock and we'd have to row the boat over and get the tangled line off of some guys boat. People would be staring out the window of the house watching to see what we were up to. But through it all we'd make it home, fish or skunked, with a stronger bond than we had when we left that sunrise. This morning my wife Shirley and I attended the Funeral of some very dear friends of ours who's mother had passed away. She had a 10 year battle with Alzheimer's and it was devastating for the family to have to endure so much pain for so long. We sat at the service this morning and listened to the beautiful words that were spoken by the priest and some of the family members and I thought to myself, How lucky they are to have a family that is so close to one another. For the last 10 years they have been taking care of their mother with Alzheimer's. How that must have felt? I sat and listened and wondered, what prepares someone in life for that kind of ordeal? How do we as adults get to that point in our lives where we just do something because it's the right thing to do? We don't ask how. We just do what needs to be done. Where do those lessons in life come from? And yet again for me, I found my answer. Those lessons we learned as sons and daughters, came from the days spent out in a boat floating on the waves with our fathers, talking, listening, learning, and fishing. My father use to tell me in the boat all the time, how much he loved me and how much he loved my mother. I've never once doubted that. It's that kind of love that gave our friends the strength to make it for the last 10 years. Fishing gave me the opportunity to learn so much from my father. Life long lessons, just like the one I needed to recall upon today. The lesson of never ending love. Love that helped a family and their friends fight through a very difficult day.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fishing and Job Hunting

Fishing for me is a tool to get away from the crazy hectic lives that we live. So when my brother-in-law Dave wanted to go Muskie fishing at "The Chain" in Antioch a couple of weekends ago, I jumped at the idea. We had discussed on the Wednesday before, that Tyler my nephew would come with us to try and catch his first Muskie. I have a boat that I share with my older brothers and I called them both to see who else wanted to go. Plans were made, and soon our Muskie outing had turned into a party of five people. My oldest brother Kevin, had requested that we should not plan on fishing for Muskies all day, because the odds were, we probably wouldn't catch one and we didn't want to go home empty handed. Now, we were going to have a "party of five" and all the gear (for every kind of fish) we could cram into our 17ft boat. Keith, my other brother decided that since the weather was so nice he would stay home to stain some more sections of his log home. Thank God! Space! Sunday turned out to be the perfect day to be outside so we were very excited at the chance of boating a few fish. Stopping for bait on the way, we loaded up the minnow buckets with about 8 dozen assorted minnows and shiners. We managed to get all the gear on board (and we put the plug in the boat) so we were off to a great start. Tyler wanted to catch a Muskie, and that was the first (and his only) plan. After about an hour of moving Kevin's tackle around the bottom of the boat (he packed rain gear on a sun filled day) I had finally started to fish with my first minnow. Kevin and Dave took a break from Muskie fishing after a couple of hours to fish with some live bait for Walleyes and anything else. We marked fish on the graph the entire day. Kevin had one bite around 10:00 am (and missed him) and that was it for awhile. I managed to catch one ugly Catfish before lunch and that was it! Four good fisherman and half of the Cabelas catalog was in our boat and that's the best we could do? We stayed and fished until dark and didn't see anything else. As usual we had a bunch of laughs (at Kevin's expense) and we always enjoy a day of fishing regardless of the outcome. Later that week while I was surfing the .coms, looking for a job (so I can afford to throw away 8 dozen minnows) it hit me. Searching for a job in today's economy is just like fishing. It doesn't really matter how prepared you are, or how many applications you fill out, or where you submit your resume. All that matters is weather or not you get a bite, and so far all I've got to show for it is an ugly Catfish!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Starting Point

Well I started a Blog...Who would have thought that? This is a place for me to share my thoughts and feelings about what I love to do most....FISH!

When I was a child (sometimes my wife thinks I still am) my father (Dan) and mother (Carol) spent a great deal of time doing everything for us. With five children (Kevin, Keith, Cynthia, Kirk, Cheryl) and one car, living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, we ran back and forth to all the sporting events and school functions just about everyday. But somehow through all of that, my father still found time (and mom let him go) to take us fishing. Sometimes it was just for an hour or two in a local pond in the suburbs. Occasionally, we would drive to a lake to fish for a few hours from shore, and there were times that we'd rent a boat and motor and be gone for the whole day. Most summers the family would drive to Orr, Minnesota to spend a week or two fishing Pelican lake where the fish would actually bite. To this day it is still my favorite place to be and I count the days each year until we can return. The days spent fishing with my dad are the greatest childhood memories I have. Whenever things aren't going the way I'd like them to, I can always reflect back to a fishing memory that will somehow make things seem a little brighter. Now I am a father, and it has been my turn to take my son fishing. At first, it seemed like a chore....trying to teach him how to fish, but now he is growing older (8) and I see the results of the time I spent with him. It makes me appreciate what it took for my dad to take five of us fishing. As I continue to learn and enjoy my passion for fishing, I hope to share my thoughts, laughs, and ideas with you. Check back often, and remember that no child will ever forget the quality time that you spend with them.

Cappy's Pond on Youtube