The back of my house is located on a canal. Each morning I step outside, retrieve my fishing rod from the shed and cast my lure out. It’s a meditation in motion. A few weeks ago a large peacock bass followed my lure and at the last moment turned and swam away, kicking at the surface as it did so. “Nervous?” I would call out. “What are you scared of…just take a bite!” This fish has made several repeat appearances, and thus I have given it a name, Nervous Pervis.
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Another character that swims by, is a large catfish. I am not interested in catching it, but I do muse at its age, I am certain if it could talk, it would have many tales to tell. I have named this fish “Gaddis”. Many years ago, one of the first sports fishing shows on TV was hosted by a very talkative fisherman, Gadabout Gaddis. Also frequenting my mornings is a small blue gill that zips around. Like that catfish, I have little interest in landing that blue gill, but I do admire its energy.Thus,he has earned the name, Zippy.
Last week my son visited from college. His trademark is to leave something behind and once he has returned to his dorm, he’ll call and ask if I can mail it out “next day”! On this occasion he left behind his favorite lure, “the wounded minnow”. For me, I just don’t see why a fish would even give this thing a second look, but my son swears by it as if it had magical power.
This morning I decided to change, I clipped off my old lure and tied on my son’s favorite, the wounded minnow. My first cast out, I slowly retrieved, a huge splash, and my rod was bent in half! It was Pervis! Thunderbolts of excitement went through my arms as I fought to reel him in. Just as I he neared, he gave one final strong tug and then…..the line broke! He was gone,,,with my sons wounded minnow lure firmly hooked in its mouth!
There was a deafening silence …silence that comes with disbelief, shock and disappointment. I stared into the water….and became part of it.
“Whoa there Pervis, what’s your hurry?...and what the heck is that hanging from your lip?” inquired Zippy. Thrashing a bit, Pervis replies, “my lip? Why is something hanging from my lip?” “Yes, Pervis, you got something there…hold still and I’ll get a closer look” Zippy slowly swims closer….”hmmm….hmmm…oohhh..eeEEEKKs!”Zippy shrieks…”it’s a lure!” “A lure??” questions Pervis, “what the heck is a lure?”
“A lure is a one of those fake fish that has sharp hooks in and when they grab you, you get pulled out of the water by these monsters that live outside the water!”
Pervis’s eyes bulged. “What do the monsters do when they catch you?”
“They eat you!” chimed in Gaddis, the catfish who now was on the scene. “Let me see what you’ve gotten yourself into” Gaddis swam closer to Pervis to investigate.
“Oh that is bad, those hooks are in your lip, they’re in solid” Gaddis officially remarked.
“Pervis swam nervously in a circle, “oh my, now what, now what am I going to do? I’ve got this lure on my lip for life!..How am I going to eat?”
“Ya know,” piped in Gaddis, you’ll just have to become a vegetarian”
“Vegetarian!!” exclaimed Pervis, “No way!..C’mon guys, give me a hand here, help me, please!”
Gaddis and Zippy swam off and could be seen having a discussion between them. They slowly swam back.
Zippy spoke, “We think we have come up with the only possible solution”.
Gaddis then took over, “This guy that tosses the lures in here, I’ve seen him come here everyday. I don’t think he’s really a monster. I have seen him catch us fish, and then toss us back.”
“Toss us back?” said the puzzled Pervis. “Why catch us and then toss us back, what a waste of time!”
“I don’t know” continued Gaddis. “As far as I can make out, anyone who lives outside the water is crazy.Anyhow, this is our plan. When he comes here in the morning he will be tossing out that lure that you have been following, this time, bite into it”
“Are you nuts!” shrieked Pervis, “and get hooked again?”
“Will you let us finish?” Zippy bust out..then continuing Zippy said,”bite on the lure, this time ease up on your thrashing……he’ll pull you in….and he’ll be so darn happy to get both his lures back , for sure he will set you free.”
“And, what if he decides to keep me…to eat me?” asked Pervis.
“Talk to him…grant him three wishes” laughed Zippy.
The three fish burst out in laughter! “That’s the oldest trick in the book” laughed Gaddis. “Fisherman believing if they toss fish back in the water something good comes their way”.
“Well”, continued Gaddis….its either bite the lure or become a vegetarian, you decide”.
Later in the afternoon I spoke with my son. “Dad, I can’t believe you lost my wounded minnow lure” he said with great disappointment in his voice. “Don’t worry” I said..… “I have a feeling that I’ll be getting it back by tomorrow.”
Yes, I’ll have his lure…and three more wishes to ponder!