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WOODS AND WATERS: A tin can, some line and a delightful day of fishing

goodwoodspic10 29 14

Looking back on the summer months, one outdoor excursion stood out from many others. It didn’t involve me. No trophy fish hooked or landed. Quite the contrary.

In fact, it was as simple as it could get. It brought back memories of my childhood, when I ventured down to the intersection of Lumber Street and Spring Garden Drive only a short walk from my house in Shopes Gardens, equipped with a piece of monofilament and a hook. The bait was bread. My quarry were the large minnows that lived in and around the culvert pipe that went underneath Lumber Street.

Catching hornyhead, or “horny,” chubs by hand-line made this 8-year-old feel like a champion tournament fisherman. No fishing rod or reel. No fancy equipment. Just the basics – and, boy, was that fun! I never forgot the times sitting along the creek waiting for a bite and pulling in a lunker chub of 5 inches.

That was about 50years ago.

Recently, I experienced a similar “basic” fishing trip involving approximately 30 children from the Discipleship Summer Camp at the Ebenezer Methodist Church of Middletown. I was asked  by my good friend, Samantha Myers, to help her and her children at a nearby farm pond as they went fishing for several hours.

When the children arrived at the pond, I noticed something lacking. No fishing rods or reels, only a large cardboard box with a bunch of soda cans wrapped with fishing line.

Was this the equipment?

The fishing looked mighty bleak from my standpoint.  How in the world were these kids going to fish, I thought to myself.
The first major obstacle: All the cans were tangled in a huge bird's nest of fishing line. As we began to systematically unravel each can, we eventually got them separated.

The hooks were large – too large for my liking – so we changed them to a smaller size to accommodate a piece of worm for bait.

Their bobble was a hunk of foam cut from a swimming noodle and tied several inches up from the hook.

"Basic'' was not the word for this fishing trip. It was more like "primitive.''

It was something I hadn’t done since my days along Lumber Street back in the 1960s.

As these kids began to fish with their soda can reels and their foam bobbers, I immediately understood something that I overlooked: These kids didn’t need fancy rods or reels to have a great time.

They would underhand or twirl their line and then let it go, propelling the line off the soda can similar to an open spinning reel. They didn’t get distance, but they could land their bait in the water.

It wasn’t long until several children began yelling that a fish was caught.

I was amazed at their basic fishing techniques. They caught several largemouth bass and bluegill with the soda-can-and-noodle technique.

These children had a swell time along that farm pond that morning.

According to their adult counselors, these kids were enjoying themselves so much that they forgot about the time, making lunch later than scheduled, something these kids never do. They laughed and enjoyed their adventure using only the basics.

It certainly brought back fond memories of my childhood when fishing was as simple as a hook, line and bobber.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 16:50

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To enter, bring your buck to the Press And Journal office, 20 S. Union St., Middletown, to be measured and photographed. 
Call 717-944-4628 to schedule an appointment. 
The score is determined by adding the total number of points (one inch or longer) and widths in inches, at the widest part. (Ties will be broken by measurement from base of skull to highest point.) The deer must be legally taken during the 2014 Archery or Rifle season in Pennsylvania. Current PA hunting license and tag must accompany entry. Buck must be brought in by person whose name appears on tag. All measurements and decisions regarding the judging will be final.
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