By the time you guys read this story, you may be fishing and sketching fish like Papa! November 10, 2012 brought together friends Sam, Brock and "Old Paul" and they had quite an adventure. There were four generations of fishermen united in one of the final outings of our 2012 Fish'n Season! But, I was wrong about that, because OP & I fished again later on December 22, and brike ice by to fish for Crappie! I have never been "real ice fishing" up north and have that on my bucket list. Sorry to get off the story, anyway I am back to it:
The weather was strangely warm again. a storm moved in and the temperature turned much colder sonn after the adventure with my buddies. This wonderful season began with story #1 on the www.firstfish.com website I created for you all. This is a story about a eighty six year young man who is a model of good spirit for me. After some great times with Sam and Brock, in mid summer I reconnected with an acquaintance I made the year before at Binder Lake, Jefferson City, Missouri. Of significance to this story, is the fact that 2011 came to an end and I did not see the old fellow again until this year. I feared he may have retired from fishing permanently or even worse, gone on to meet the Great Spirit of Fishermen, when in fact he stopped fishing for a while to have surgery for skin cancer on his face and he needed some time to heal up.
Whne you all are old enough to spend time ia a boat fishing, please wear sunblock and the proper hats and clothing, so you will not get skin cancer like Old Paul! Your Papa has had a buch of sun damaged skin places frozen off too, so I am warning you all about your future time on the water and under the sun! Back to 2012 , when I met Old Paul again and more about our reunion:
He remembered me and greeted me, I returned the greeting and told him I liked his nice 1960 GMC pickup truck. I walked closer to take a look at the truck and noticed the bed was full of fishing gear. I thought it looked a bit like an Ozark Bait Store on wheels. We began to talk and he showed me some old lures and a variety of vintage rod & reel combinations, these were all just laying in the bed of the pickup truck! After a friendly talk we agreed we should meet up again and share information and fish some of the fish'n holes we each discovered. The tie that seemed to binf was his statement "you know, if my son was living, he would be about your age" then I said: "if my dad was living he would be about your age". That exchange seemed to seal a friendship. Another time with Old Paul I remember in a particular way was: one hot day in the middle of the 2011 & 12 drought - I was looking forward to a cooler evening of fishing! We carried fishing gear and a big cooler of ice down from the parking lot down to the Binder Lake, when the sun was getting low Old Paul caught a nice bass and I soon caught a smaller bass. Later as the evening progressed, we were surprised by our luck, we caught a dozen “keepers” - Bass, Bluegill and a big catfish. I suggested to Paul, that our success was due to the only recent thunderstorm of the summer. I believed the rain improved the water quality, He believed it was the bait I bought and shared with him, maybe it was just luck, but whatever the reason, we enjoyed the evening together by the lake. It was a memorable time and the onset of a long friendship.
Another memorable fish'n trip was to Manito Lake near Tipton, Missouri. We met on Highway 50, near his home in Centertown. We towed the boat he found for a good deal then sold to me. As has been our habit since we upgraded our bank fishing to boat fishing, I backed the trailer with boat into the lake. Paul was already seated in the boat with his dog "Molly". I checked things required, like drain plug being in the boat, unhooked the craft from the trailer and pull the trailer up the boat ramp. I guess I should have done a more careful inspection, because the gas tank was lower than I believed it to be. Later, after alot of motering in search of the right spot we ran out of gas and I had to oar us home. Always be prepared boys, so you do not have to learn some things the hard way!
The trip for Manito proved we are of good spirit and can remain friends when fishing is poor and something does not go as planned.
I remember the end of our better day, sitting on the tail gate of his old truck, listening to a tape of some Bluegrass Music. “Old Paul” has outlasted many of his fishing buddies. who were caught up in God's saftey net. God kept them because of their good spirit and humility, that is what I believe!
The last time we concluded our fishing, he even played a guitar he pulled from behing the truck seat, I do not believed he had played for a long time, I saw a little spring come into his step, he almost danced a jig and started singing along with his own recording! He was the Bluegrass singer and guitar picker back in the day!
Some times when I make a friend fishing I get pretty touched by a spirit and talk about things that matter. Well, all this occurred with Old Paul and he is pretty sure there are fishermen in heaven. He laughed and said he was hoping that to be the case. I assured him we would not only look forward to a future of catching some big fish, but also share some stories around places where there are fishermen on earth.