After four years of watching Derek fish, I finally traded my naps and books for a fishing rod and box of red worms. I decided to give it a shot when we visited Todd and Tena Hoffer in Etna Green, Indiana last month and went fishing together. With Todd’s help, I was learning to cast and reel in the line all on my own. It was much more fun to be a part of the activity than to just watch them. Derek saw this as an opportunity for me to get into fishing with him and got me an annual fishing license and pole of my own the very next week.
Now we have been on many mini fishing adventures and my total catch-and-release count has come to 7 total fish including pan-fish, trout, and small-mouth bass. We’ve visited the Chain-O-Lakes State Park in Albion, Indiana twice for canoe fishing trips. Our local hot-spots include Martin’s Landing and American Park in downtown Elkhart on the St. Joseph River as well as the Mishawaka Dam on the St. Joe in Mishawaka, Indiana.
An interesting tidbit of history about the St. Joe River from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Elkhart County Historical Society is that the Miami and Potawatami Native American tribes who first settled in Elkhart thought that the river encircling Island Park resembled an elk’s heart, thus became the city’s name, Elkhart. The river begins as two branches before entering the St. Joseph River in Elkhart. Derek and I are members of the Two Rivers Running Club in Elkhart and I have always wondered what the two rivers were since there is only one that flows through the city.
I used to think that fishing was boring but now I relish in the relaxation of the activity. Being outside by the water and having the quiet to yourself provides ample time to sink into your thoughts. However, learning to fish has not been quite as easy as I thought it would be. There is skill to baiting the fish, feeling the bite, and reeling in the catch. I’ve been nicknamed the Worm Feeder for my countless empty hooks until just recently when I caught my first big fish.
The first solo catch was on the Elkhart River at Martin’s Landing with a shallow water edge from the shore. I’d been having ongoing difficulties with feeling the nudge on my line when the fish bites the worm so I attached a bobber to my line and dropped it in the water to watch. Suddenly the lime green bobber disappeared and Derek called out “fish on, fish on!” I picked up the rod and yanked up to make sure the fish was caught and reeled in a wildly thrashing fish who clearly did not want to surface for me.
It was definitely not a tiny one and I worked with haste to unhook him while he gasped for air. Once caught, I posed for my photo and then tossed him back to his home. He ate my worm, but he earned it and I was promoted to the fish slayer status.
The next big adventure that awaits will be on our honeymoon in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at the Porcupine Mountains. We’ve booked half a day with a fisherman on Lake Superior charter fishing. He supplies all the bait, fishing poles, and transportation. I don’t know if I’ll catch anything, but it will be worth it.