We had lots of trout at Brookwood. We watched them grow from little swimmers to truly decent sized fish, including a granddaddy that no one could keep on a hook. You might catch him (those occasions were few and far between) but you couldn’t keep him!
I “caught” my first trout near the bridge with the water wheel. With Dad by my side I baited the hook with a wriggly earthworm and excitedly held my bamboo pole anticipating bringing in dinner for the day. Dad got me settled then went on to watch from a distance, purportedly to do some chores. With my bait in the creek; I waited, and waited and nothing happened. Being a kid I began to lose interest, beginning to yearn for explorations in the leafy forest. My Uncle Carl had been watching all this with impish humor dancing in his eyes. He suggested I dig the butt of my pole into the bank and leave the line to dangle. That way I could both fish and play. I thought this was a fabulous idea and followed his suggestion. So, planting the pole into the grassy bank, I ran off to play smoke jumper.
A short time later Dad called out to me, “You’ve got something on your line!” I quickly came running back to the creek side. Wow it was true! There was my bobber gaily bouncing up and down in the water! Dad came along to give me a hand and we hauled in my line. Ta Dah! I had caught my first trout! It wasn’t a huge fish; my memory banks suggest about 10 inches or so. I was so happy! What a beautiful fish, sort of a greenish brown with rainbows shining on its gills. I had caught it, ME a little kid! All by myself! Proudly I turned the fish over to Uncle Carl who would clean it and give it to Mom or Aunt Martha to include in dinner.
Dad and Carl were chuckling in that sort of proud adult way. But they also looked mischeivous somehow and although I caught that look I was too excited to mull it over. Later, of course, after I got a little older; I realized that the fish I had caught was probably caught by Uncle Carl. Once I was safely away and playing elsewhere a trick was pulled. The trout had been hung on my hook and dropped back into the creek to become my first trout.
That first trout from the banks of McCarty Creek tickled my fancy and I continued to fish. I tossed my line into the creek many times, and at the little pond over across the property line on Kragness property. I also tried my hand at fly fishing from our sawmill property, which was on the banks of the Sauble River. Dad took us to a trout farm when we were young that also had a petting zoo and some other activities for kids. I didn’t enjoy that as much although I loved to toss the bread into the water to watch the trout feed. It just wasn’t a challenge. Toss in your hook and pull out a fish. Great for kids that were starting out I guess, but I had passed that point.
I don’t think I will ever forget the anticipation and then the ecstatic excitement involved with catching my first trout! I honor Uncle Carl and Dad for the gift they gave me that day. Hats off to them!