Summer is a time for making memories

Published 9:00 am Sunday, June 5, 2016

There have been many instances when I’ve enjoyed looking back at some of the fond memories of those lazy, hazy, crazy days of the summers of my childhood.

It may be that those were special to me because I would associate the first days of summer with the last day of school. There is a song that has the words “schools out for summer,” in it, which pretty much explains the euphoria I felt. Yes, for the most part I liked school, especially my years spent at Hammer School. They were good years spent with classmates who were more than that — they were your friends.

Going to country school was a little different — in a way — because I’d usually spend the summer playing with the same kids with whom I went to school. Yes, the end of the school year was my happy time because I could hang out at the bridge fishing, catching minnows, frogs and turtles. Once in a great while, I would occasionally catch a small sunfish or crappie in my homemade minnow trap. Even at an early age, the thought of keeping one of those fish never entered my mind.

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I would study them for a few moments and then release them with hopes of catching one of them after they had grown into adults.

I know that back in those days fishing was more about the meat and not as much about the sport of it.

I may have been ahead of my time when it came to catch and release, although it was not a trait with which I was born. It was acquired over time. From time to time, I would  come home dragging a stringer of mostly dead bullheads I’d caught while spending a day fishing Fountain Lake. After doing that a few times, my mother, who loved to fish and never seemed to find enough time for it, opened my eyes to reality. She finally told me not to waste our natural resources and told me I had to “clean what you catch and eat what you clean.”

Those were simple, yet effective words that put things in perspective for a young fisherman and words that I still go by today.

A few weeks ago I experienced a less than glorious fishing opener, mostly due to the weather.

All it did was wet my appetite for fishing and made me want more. My oldest grandson, Trevor, called me that Friday evening and wanted to know if I’d like to go fishing. I jumped at the chance and I asked if he had room for both me and his grandma.

No problem.

We met Trevor at an area lake. He took us to his favorite spot and, moments later, his grandma had a northern in the boat. Trevor boated quite a few fish before this old fisherman finally caught a respectable pike.

I have fished with Trevor from the time he was old enough to hold a fishing pole, and I could tell at an early age that he was a natural. I have always felt that any fishing success I may have can be attributed to time spent on the water, luck and fishing for what’s biting. Trevor fishes a lot, like I do, which makes me feel good in knowing that I have passed on something to my grandson.

Trevor has taken what he has learned from me, his dad and uncles and fine-tuned it.

I am proud of all four of my grandsons for the fine young men they have become, and it also makes me happy they all like to fish and hunt. However,  Trevor takes it to another level.

I always look forward to fishing with my grandkids because it makes me feel like I have passed something on.

I also have two young granddaughters who I am looking forward to taking fishing in the not-too-distant future.

My grandson, Dylan, attended his girlfriend Renee’s graduation in northern Michigan, and sent me a picture of a nice smallmouth he caught while fishing on a nearby lake. He reminds me of when I was younger, because no matter where he goes, he has fishing on his mind.

Outdoors writer Dick Herfindahl’s grandson, Dylan, is pictured with a dandy smallmouth bass he caught while fishing on a northern Michigan lake.

Outdoors writer Dick Herfindahl’s grandson, Dylan, is pictured with a dandy smallmouth bass he caught while fishing on a northern Michigan lake.

I know that fishing was not his first priority that weekend, but it did end up pretty high on the list.

I have probably corrupted Dylan, because he loves fishing for northern, much like his grandpa and Trevor.

At the end of the month, I will be heading to the cabin for a few days with Trevor.

I am really looking forward to that because he and I haven’t been up there together for a few years.

He has a lake or two picked out to fish and I have one (Spider) that I definitely want to visit with him. The pike fishing on that lake has gotten better, but there is a slot limit of no fish between 24-36 inches being kept.

Since that regulation has been imposed, I have noticed an improvement in the pike fishing, and even the ones under 24 inches have returned to the thick-bodied, table fare they once were during the years we vacationed at that lake.

Until next time, school’s out and there are plenty of fish in area lakes, so it’s time to get serious! Remember — you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy fishing, just a kid at heart.

Please take some time to honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. Take a little time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who served and those troops who are serving today.