Growing up in Cobden, Ontario, I enjoyed one of the best perks any kid could ask for FISHING.
My brother and I spent countless hours down at the boat launch with a few lures and a casting rod. The dock was wooden back then and the perfect refuge for a fish looking to find a little shade from the heat of the day.
The summer I was 9 or so, there was a rumour going around that a large pike had taken up residence under the dock. Everyone was angling to catch it and you would hear local fishermen talking about it every time you went down to the boat launch.
It was big excitement for us kids, and great use of a few summertime hours, to stand on the edge of the dock and cast our reels along with everyone else gathered along the dock and bank of the lake. With word of the fish continuing, my brother and I decided to spend a few days trying our luck to capture the elusive fish, just for fun.
They were lazy, hazy days of summer and we were doing our best to keep it lazy. We weren’t worried about going down to the water for a prime finishing time, we simply went when it suited us. Casting was not my strong suit. I did ok for being a kid, but I did have a tendency to drop a cast…or two. Ok, maybe three. Fine. Four. What do you want? I was 9!
As my brother and I stood on the dock, I drew my arm back to cast and sent that line flying…straight down, into the water. I had dropped my cast AGAIN. Before I had a moment to mutter a word that would have gotten me in trouble at home, I felt it- a hard tug on the line. Whatever had taken my lure was much bigger than the pickerel I usually ended up with. I nearly fell off the dock myself with the sudden pull, but with the help of my brother, we brought in my catch.
There it was. In all its shiny, wet, scaled splendour- the famous pike from under the dock! It weighed in at just under 4 pounds. I know it was largely a lucky accident, but I was a kid, I didn’t care! I was so excited and proud: I had caught the fish everyone was trying to catch!
It’s been decades since that day, but I still can’t help but smile when I look at the dock on Muskrat Lake and think about how it felt to be the one who caught the big fish.