As a kid, I was ambivalent -- at best -- about the end of summer and beginning of school. June, July and August were spent riding bikes and, later, motorcycles. Also fishing with a bobber in the harbor of my little town and off a long pier that stretched into Lake Michigan. These were great times and, as I recall them, carefree -- so long as you overlooked the parts about President Kennedy in Dallas, Bobby Kennedy in Los Angeles, Martin Luther King in Memphis, also the Democratic Convention in Chicago, the Tet Offensive and Kent State.
Fishing can be like that, a diversion; time away. Or so it seemed for me Monday evening while my son, Cole, 16, his pal, Max Kelley, also 16, and I zinged baits, looking for muskies.
This would be Cole's last day on the water before another school year began. Plenty of fishing remains before the boat is put up for winter. But for a kid, bumping up against the demarcation that separates summer and school can be akin to falling off a cliff.
But so life goes, and until dark, Max, Cole and I eagerly slung baits, looking for a proper conclusion to a summer's good fishing.
Since June, Max and Cole have put six muskies in their boat, no cheap trick. Keeping score this way is important to them. But perhaps it's warranted, because they're deeply invested in their sport. They leverage fishing information gained from books, magazines and newspapers. They watch and learn from fishing shows. They read online fishing forums. Also they pony up their own cash for $25 baits, chip in for boat gas -- and can tell you which reels will hold up pulling Double Cowgirls month after month. And which will go bust in the night.
All of which argues against concerns, regularly voiced, that fishing's future is in suspect hands, given the wayward interests of many of today's youth.
Perhaps that's true. But as I see it, fishing is every bit as captivating as it was when I was a kid. Perhaps more so. There are just too few kids doing it.
For this, blame parents, many of whom fish. But without their children.
Perhaps for them the sport primarily is a diversion. But not just from the day's bad news, as it was at times when I was young.
But also from their kids.
Dennis Anderson email@example.com