A beautiful summer’s day early in the morning. A relaxing drive, sailing down the highway to Port Dover, Hendrix transforming the landscape with All Along The Watchtower.
I pull up to the pier and scan the length of it, a dozen fishermen sitting slumped, already half-baked and utterly demoralized.
I get out my gear as if I were Clint Eastwood and step onto the concrete, pausing. They all turn to give me the once-over. There is only one spot to claim as my own, right at the end of the Long Walk.
I begin to march toward glory, though feeling a bit overdressed in my hip waders flopping around me, with two nets slapping my backside with each step as I stride past their twisted, smirking pasty-assed faces.
I reach the end and unsling all eight feet of my brand new Fenwick rod. I look back at the onlookers and arch an eyebrow. They’re jealous I am guessing, sensing that the perfect combination of equipment and expertise is about to unfold in front of their hungry eyes.
I turn and scan the water. Sometimes a glimmer of sunlight can be the first thing that is caught, its reflection apparent as the fish turns in pursuit of prey. It may be a Walleye, a Bass or perhaps one of the oversized Perch Lake Erie is known for.
A Musky would be even more impressive - or Steelhead, very tasty either stuffed on the wall or into one’s stomach.
The biggest of all, of course, is the One That Got Away. And anything is better than the One That Was Never There. But my mind was getting away from me faster than a 25-pound Salmon on 6-pound test.
My audience was becoming distracted so I had to take immediate action. I flipped the bail, leaned back, and cast as far as I possibly could. And with a heavy spoon at the end of the line, it was a good one!
The shiny implement sliced through air, as my heart soared with it, even catching the wind, sparkling in the rays of the sun as it unerringly dove towards its unseen target.
Until my line hit a knot, at which point it stopped abruptly with such a force that it tore my new rod and reel out of my hands, flew through the air and plunged into twenty feet of water, sinking without hesitation, along with any hubris associated with it.
I didn’t know if the gurgling I heard came from the event itself or some sort of myocardial infarction on my part.
When I turned and looked back down the pier at all the probing eyes before me, I took a deep breath and began the Long Walk back to the car, bereft of both my fishing tackle and my dignity.
With each step, it began to seem more like a gangplank.