Outside the lines: Watching crickets swim the back stroke

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Standing on the edge of a private pond in Hueytown Saturday morning, I was starting to get a little impatient. There I was, two lines cast and no bites, only the occasional nibble.

In the corner to my left, I heard the splash of a bass at play followed by another flop in the water. My grandfather was pulling out a fairly good-sized brim. This turned out to be the only catch of the day, unless you let me count the 3-foot wood bass, I mean stick, I caught on a lizard.

After watching the bass in shallow water just stare at the lizard on one line and a tiny brim dive bomb and pick at my cricket without coming anywhere close to the hook on the other, I decided it was time to call it a day where I was and walk back to the corner of the lake where Pop sat. We sat and loosely fished for another 20 minutes, talking about past fishing moments before we called it a day.

After all, fishing is more than the excitement of the first catch, but about the time spent with the ones we go fishing with.

I can still smell the Warrior River through the old boat house and picture myself in an oversized life jacket while asking Pop to bait my hook.

It&8217;s also the stories told by fishing buddies of how much crickets enjoy doing the backstroke in the lake, or other anecdotal fishing tales.

We all have such memories, whether they be of us as a child or more recently with a young relative of our own. No matter what the memory, we can all relive them this Saturday.

This weekend concludes National Fishing and Boating Week. As part of the week, states across the nation are enacting free fishing days to allow their residents to fish public areas without a fishing license. Alabama&8217;s free day is Saturday, June 9.

A day like this one is an opportunity for you to pack up the rods and reels and hit the water with your kids, friends, dad or grandfather while chasing the bus-sized catfish in Lay Lake, relaxing and casting on Lake Purdy or sneaking some fishing in at Double Oak Lake after the XTERRA events.

Of course, just because you don&8217;t have a license, there is no reason to wait for one day each year to fish. Get permission to use someone&8217;s private pond and make memories.