by Alyssa Joynt
One of the best parts of working at Viamede is that I am forced to spend my entire summer on the lake. What a shame, right? One of the worst parts of working at Viamede is that our GM Ben can turn to me and tell me to meet him on the dock at 6 o’clock in the morning because we are going fishing. I am not an avid fisherwoman, but I dragged myself out of bed and made my way to “work” for my first real fishing expedition since I was a kid.
The last time I went fishing was when I was maybe ten years old, so it’s been a while. Cutting through the morning mist hanging on the lake, Ben arrived in his boat to pick up myself and the mother and son joining us. None of us were very experienced, so as soon as we were out on the lake Ben gave us all a quick version of Fishing 101. He showed us how to hold the rod properly, familiarized us with some basic fishing terminology, and showed us how to cast. He taught us that you always have to keep a firm grip on your rod with one hand, and showed us how to hold the line with one finger while opening the bail so that you can tip your rod back and cast. I was probably the last person to get the hang of it – I just kept dropping an excessive amount of line right in front of the boat, which created quite the mess. I ended up with clumps of tangled fishing line that Ben had to come and fix, but eventually I figured it out too.
I wasn’t the only one who needed help, though. The little guy with us needed reminders on how to hold his rod properly with one hand, and we all needed to be told from time to time that we just needed to let our lures sink instead of drawing them in constantly.
It took all of us a while to catch any fish, although everyone caught a fair amount of salad, or vegetarian fish as I like to call it. Finally, just as Ben was getting nervous that we were beginning to doubt the existence of fish, we started feeling some bites. Ben, of course, caught the first fish, and despite it being rather small he was quite happy to show it off.
After that, the fish started to come out of hiding. We caught largemouth bass and rock bass, and Ben taught us the difference between the two. Rock bass have spiny fins and red eyes, so they’re easy to distinguish if you know what you are looking for. As a fully trained fish identifier, I can now tell you with a very small percentage of certainty that this is a picture of a rock bass…
…and that this is a picture of a largemouth bass.
Check out the red eyes on this bad boy!
While Ben was having all the luck in the world (partially because he kept casting right where my rod was and stealing my fish), the boy with us still hadn’t caught anything. We moved to a spot where there was a big rock that had a hole in the middle, and he caught the biggest fish of the outing.
All in all, it was a pretty cool experience. While I’m still not convinced that Ben can go out and catch 15-16 inch bass on a regular basis, I will admit that fishing is pretty fun. Between the mist on the lake, the music of the loons, and the excitement of actually catching a fish, it’s worth getting up early. I’ll have to go out again so that Ben can prove the existence of big fish, and I’ll keep you posted. Someone has to keep the fishing stories straight, right?