One Last Fish

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Sports  |  House: Booksie Classic
Enjoy a story, of the rod and reels last fish.

Submitted: July 02, 2015

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Submitted: July 02, 2015



One Last Fish
By: Brandon Gabler


Among the many vintage items that I come across during day to day activities, fishing rods seem to always catch my eye the most. The stories that they possess and what knowledge they could reveal, I can only imagine. These old rods could have seen world record fish, spent numerous hours on a boat, or a Christmas present that a young boy or girl had woken up too many years ago. Nonetheless, my fascination with these relics is where this story is going to begin.

While roaming around a flea market store with my grandmother, I saw what seemed to be old fishing rods leaning against a corner in the back of the store. After looking through them for a few minutes, one rod and reel setup seemed to stand out just a bit more than the others. The price tag on it, was a bit of deal breaker though. On a college student budget, the price of thirty-five dollars seemed a bit out of my price range. I had the money in my pocket to by the setup, but the more I thought about it, the more it didn’t seem like the smartest purchase to make.

After catching back up with my grandma and looking around a few minutes longer, it seemed that I wasn’t going to leave with this rod and reel. Deciding that we were both ready to leave, we headed for the door. Before I could reach the door though, I made a u-turn and headed for the fishing poles leaning up against the wall in the back of the store. In the short thirty seconds that it took me to reach the back of the store, I had made up my mind that I was going to buy it, even if it wasn’t the most financially smart purchase. Carrying it back to the counter, I felt like that kid at Christmas and with a little negotiating, I managed to leave with for the low price of thirty dollars.

Once we returned home, and inspected the rod and reel a bit more, it was determined to be a Penn Delmar sitting on a old Montague rod. With a bit more research, the price I paid seemed to be fair, based off of what the internet had to tell me. The setup seemed to be all there and functioning, but my gut was telling me to hang it on the wall and let others admire it versus take it out and potentially damage it while fishing. However, just like earlier that morning, my heart had more to say than just the instinct in my gut. This rod and reel setup deserved to catch at least one more fish. The unknown number of memories this old pole held, will never be known to me, but I was determined to make one of my own. It just didn’t seem fair to hang this relic on the wall, much like it was doing at the flea market.

The next half hour was devoted to stringing up line on it and tying on a traditional rig for catfish. This however was quite easy, a lot easier than the task that lied before me now, casting it. Proving to be harder than I had hoped, it was backlash after backlash, cast after cast. Finally, I got the hang out. These casts weren’t by any means perfect, but my rig was going forward and the birds nests were becoming smaller in the reel. This was good enough for me. There was now nothing left to do, except wait for the sun to set and head for the lake.

The first night out with the old rod and reel, was a complete bust. Right when we arrived to the lake, a storm had decided to brew and the lightning became pretty frequent. This ended the night early, without even getting a bite. “There will always be another day” I told myself, as we headed back to the truck. “Another day” came just two days later.

A call from my grandpa one afternoon, led to the news that there were Channel Catfish stacked on a rockpile at the local reservoir, which was definitely good news to hear. The day before we hit the reservoir, was spent fishing all of the nearby creeks and streams in search of; Creek Chub, Shiners and anything else that was biting. The unlucky ones that found our hooks, were bait for the following day. After six hours of non-stop fishing, we finally caught enough to take with us. Bed came early that night, and rightfully so seeing as my brother-in-law and myself were meeting my grandpa at the lake at 6:45am.

Around 6:00am, the beeping of my alarm had awoken me out of a dead sleep and meant that the day of reckoning was here. At the time, I didn’t know it but this would be the day this old rod and reel would catch its final fish. The morning seemed to fly by so fast, I thought we were going to be late meeting my grandpa at the lake. Thankfully enough, we made it with just a few minutes to spare. Once everything was loaded, we were off.

It was a brisk morning, the temperature was right around 60F and the lake dead calm. The ride out to the middle of lake was a picturesque scene, as if it was taken straight out of a movie. Gulls were carrying on above us, the herons were fishing along the banks and a osprey was perched on a overhanging tree as we drove by. Even if a fish wasn’t caught today, the view itself was worth getting up for.

As the anchor was being dropped, my brother-in-law and myself began to bait up our hooks, with yesterday's catch, in hopes of landing a monster in the upcoming hours. When our lines hit the water, it was almost instantaneous my bobber had disappeared into the depths of the lake. This was it, this was the last fish that would be caught on this old Penn and Montague setup. Lowering my pole, as I reeled up the slack in my line I kept thinking “Just catch this one and you’ll feel better about all this. It’ll be an accomplishment in itself to catch a fish with this old rod.” With a sudden jerk of the rod and some quick reels on the old Penn, the line went slack. I had missed the fish. What could of been the only bite of the day, I had messed up.

Feeling quite ill after the miss, I reeled up my line and baited my hook and casted it back into the water. Some time passed and the three of us were starting to get impatient, when my bobber started bouncing again and then finally disappeared. Remembering what happened last time, my grandpa spoke up this time saying “Let the damn thing gag on it, you don’t wanna miss another one.” and so that’s what I did. I let this fish run with my line for nearly fifteen seconds, before lowering my shoulder and snapping the rod backwards to set the hook. This time I my pulled back so fast, my line made an audible snap across the water and my bobber stayed submerged. I had one hooked.

The fight wasn’t a long one by any means, but it was exhilarating. When I got it reeled up to the boat, on the other end was a two pound channel catfish. This was all the I wanted, one final fish. After the hook was removed from the fish and it was safely released, I sat there for a second taking everything in. I had just landed a fish on a rod and reel that were probably double my age, maybe even triple my age. The rod can now hang on the wall and not just be a ornament, because I had a story and photograph to go with it. Whoever owned this setup before, weather they are a alive or not today, I’m sure they would be proud that I had it out one more time. Even if it was just a two pound channel cat.


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