Some of my best memories revolve around fishing. Deep-sea fishing is fun. Trolling in a boat on a big lake is, too. Still, my favorite kind of fishing is sneaking up on trout in a mountain stream or casting a fly or lure in a small lake among pine trees and oak brush, trying for trout or bass.
We purists complain about suckers and carp getting on our hooks, but we've gotta admit those so-called trash fish sometimes keep us from getting skunked, a fate worse than having to walk home.
Both my parents were superb fishermen, and we were taught to tend to our own fishing business. If our lines got hung and we lost our lures, we simply re-rigged ourselves.
When we moved to a ranch near a big, warm-water lake we still went fishing. We took lanterns and fished at night. That's when I learned the big dipper's path around the north star, and about the constellations.
On one mountain lake fishing trip my dad got sick, and my mom took him to the hospital in the closest town, leaving my husband, my brother and me camped at the lake. I tried a fancy-looking lure I found in the tackle box, and caught a BIG large-mouth bass.
The others wanted in on the action, of course, but no other lure worked, so we went down the road to a tackle shop and spent all our money on those certain lures. Buying groceries didn't occur to us.
My mom and dad were gone five days. The last three days we developed a varied menu -- fried bass for breakfast, broiled bass for lunch and baked bass for supper. We were full of fish, but boy did we have fun.
If a big fish came off the hook at the water's edge we didn't say, "Oh, darn, he got away." We jumped in and scooped him out. Our bodies had to be tough -- that was our supper getting away.
One time my brother made a great cast. He got his baited hook way far out in the lake, and settled down on the bank to visit and wait for a bite. He turned the reel to tighten his line. It didn't work.
We laughed and said, "Just let your big fish bring it in for you."
Sure enough a big fish took his hook and cleared the water -- swimming TOWARD the shore. My brother ran backward, over the embankment and down the other side, shouting, "Help!" We yelled instructions - "Hold steady, now run, come back ..." Somehow he landed that fish, and it was the catch of the day - a 23-inch trout.
When I was a teenager, my mom woke me up before daylight one summer morning saying, "Let's go fishing."
I grumpily got out of bed and went. I still remember watching the sun come up with my mom that morning. It was so quiet we talked in whispers, and we breathed deeply of air perfumed by piñon and juniper.
I don't remember whether we caught any fish.
Glenda Price has been a contributing editor to New Mexico Stockman magazine since 1982. Contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org