Kyle’s uncle Tom remembered vividly that I had asked him to reteach me how to fish and to not let me talk my way out of touching the fish, taking it off the hook, gutting it, etc. I hadn’t counted on him being so detail-oriented.
Now it is well known that my great-grandfather Loney loved to fish. Fishing was a great way to supplement the table during the Depression, too, especially here in Minnesota. Further, fishing was a staple of the homesteader diet in the Black Hills among my great grandma Irene’s family. I wanted to reconnect with this tradition that has been important to my family for generations – I had never had any particular interest in it as a child and as such, missed out on the chance to cultivate this skill.
Before we left for the cabin, I scoured the garden for harvestables, with the idea that if I left without harvesting, all of it would go to waste. I picked a large amount of basil, some peppers, green beans, and onion with the idea that I’d bring it all to the cabin and we’d eat like kings.
The day we arrived up at Farm Island Lake was lovely and we enjoyed an evening with Kyle’s uncle, dad, and their significant others chatting, laughing, playing games, and eating like kings (as anticipated). Kyle’s dad and I built a fire with wet wood and I kept it going while Kyle played the hits on his guitar. I was pleased for the chance to tend the flames – usually there are so many people at a campfire eager to keep it going that I don’t really have a chance.
That night we got a knock on our door at 4 in the morning. It was the owner of the resort instructing us to leave the cabin and make our way to the bathhouse. Apparently, 80 mile an hour straight line winds were headed our way. It was very exciting! We ran through the downpour, got soaked, sat around in the men’s bathhouse for about 15 minutes (less exciting), and then headed back to the house.
The next day, it rained for 24 hours straight – huge torrential rain. We waited and waited and waited for it to let up, but to no avail. By the time we returned to the cabin from town, there were rivers flowing around the foundation.
The next day, the lake rose nearly a foot. The boat was sitting very, very low in the water and the wind was whipping across the lake, forming white cap waves. Not the most ideal conditions for fishing, but it was our last day up there and I needed to catch a fish!
Using pots and pans we bailed out the boat and loaded in. We crashed through the waves out to the fishing spot, soaking just about everyone but especially Uncle Tom who sat in the bow of the boat. Once we got anchored and cast our lines, the current was so strong that the boat began to drift. All our lines went over one side of the boat and we were endlessly trying to untangle ourselves.
We moved our boat to an area where Kyle’s dad and uncle had caught many fish before and we had the same problems. But the Northern Pikes didn’t seem to mind so much. In fact, they seemed to prefer the bait the ladies were offering.
I did it! I caught a fish AND I held it before I let him go back to his friends in the lake to tell the tale. Roxie caught one too! It was quite a thrill.
(Fine. I didn’t take it off the hook. Kyle’s dad did. But I didn’t want to rip the fish’s face open and kill him because we were fishing for sport and not intending to eat him.)
On our way back in to shore, we started to see the consequences of the water rise combined with the wild waves. Boats began to drift into our dock, picked up off their fancy raised boat beds by the high water and flung across the water to us. Meanwhile, our dock, which is apparently made of pallets, began to become dismembered with pieces of it washing up on shore.
All in all, we had a very eventful trip!