The End of a Legend?
Updated: Jan 31
Long, long ago, my grandfather gave me my first fishing pole. Although it would have been cool if he had said something like, “My dearest granddaughter, I bequeath this lucky fishing pole to you until the end of time.” It was more like, “find yourself a fishing pole in that pile over there.”
Being four of us kids were arguing over this pile of fishing poles, I really don’t know how I was able to sneak away with lucky green without a fight. Maybe nobody else wanted her because it has to be the ugliest fishing pole ever made. At least, that was the way of it until I caught a 20” walleye with her.
I suppose that is how lucky green got her name, and became mine.
Picking out a fishing pole is like picking out a new pair of shoes. You have to try it out and see if it’s a good fit. After lucky green and I were paired up and we caught that big ole fish together, she became mine forever. Pop would champion my cause if anyone ever tried to dispute my claim, and I'd never have to argue over fishing poles again.
I guess it’s safe to say that Pop was the one who turned me on to fishing. Even though I didn’t like wading out to fetch the boat at 5am because the water was too cold, and I didn’t relish the idea of having to try Pop’s latest chewing tobacco (which he made all of us try), catching fish was fun!
Pop always made a big production out of going fishing, too. He would winter in Florida until he ‘heard the walleyes calling him,’ and he’d be fishing as soon as he could get his boat in the water when he got back to Michigan.
Every summer, all of us kids got to go stay with Grandma and Pop at the lake for a week or two, and I for one looked forward to going fishing with Pop every single day.
We all had a job to do if we wanted to go fishing.
First, we would have to catch the worms the night before. Then we’d get all the tackle boxes, fishing poles, life jackets and lawn chairs piled up and ready for the boat because there usually wasn’t a whole lot of time between your eyes opening in the morning till the time the boat left the dock.
Pop didn’t wait for anyone! After all, those walleyes were calling him. Too slow and you’d be running through the water to catch the boat as it was leaving.
I am fortunate the man I chose to marry also likes fishing. Looking back through our old photo albums, you will find pictures of our many fishing trips scattered throughout the years.
When my kids were old enough to go fishing, we got them each a fishing pole they could learn with. Learning always entailed a few bird nests from the fishing line getting tangled up, a couple of broken eyelets here and there, and even a snapped rod end once in awhile. That said, lucky green was not going to be a learning pole even though that’s how she started out.
After the boys figured out how to use a fishing pole without making a mess of it, I would get the occasional, “Mom, can I use lucky green? I want to catch a fish.”
Of course I would let them use her when they put it that way, and do you know what? Every time they asked to use my fishing pole, they caught a fish. And more often than not, it was a walleye!
Now that my kids are grown and moved out, it’s back to Kurt and I, and I am still fishing with lucky green.
Indeed, there is something to be said about luck, and whether you believe in it or not, this old fishing pole of mine seems to be the luckiest pole on the boat every time we go fishing.
As mentioned, lucky green has been the walleye catcher for years now, and this summer’s fishing proves she has not lost her touch when it comes to catching the tastiest fish in the lake.
Last weekend I had gotten a handful of nibbles on lucky green, so reeled it in to check for weeds. Being clean of snags, I hurried to get the line back into the water since we were fishing in walleye territory. Back-casting, I flung the line out, hard, to the spot I had gotten the nibbles, and then…
I stood staring in shock as the broken half of lucky green clattered onto the boat rail and over the side of the boat.
Lucky green had gotten snagged on another pole during my back cast, and as old and brittle as she was, she snapped right in half!
At first I laughed because I had just been wondering how much longer my favorite fishing pole would last. Then my eyes watered up and the tears wouldn’t stop.
Flash backs of Pop and all the times we went fishing came flooding back and for some reason I thought it was all over… this was the grand finale…. As if all those memories would never resurface again just because my old fishing pole now lay broken on the floor of the boat.
Images of it being tossed into the garbage like the old, junky pole we threw away a few weeks ago brought a fresh wave of tears and my nose began to run.
How many people did this pole make so happy? How lucky had it been through the years? As if it were completely possessed, this pole was something special and it was now broke into splinters never to be fished with again.
The sorrow caught in my chest, and I was completely devastated. Gaging on tears and snot that continued running like a faucet, my husband said, “Don’t worry, I can fix it!”
I looked up at him in disbelief. “How are you going to fix this?” I said, holding out the two pieces, shattered ends toward him. “It’s completely ruined!”
I took another swipe at my running nose, wishing I had a tissue that wasn’t covered in worm guts. Judging from the smell of my hands, it wouldn’t matter anyway. My face had to have been smeared with worm dirt as I had just been digging through the worm box minutes before.
“I’ve fixed poles like this all the time when I was a kid,” he said. “I can fix it.” As I carefully reeled in the excess line and secured lucky green in a corner of the boat he added, “I don’t care what it takes, we aren’t throwing that pole away!”
I smiled at that.
Isn’t it funny how we put so much trust in ‘luck.’
Lucky green now sits in a handmade, wooden cradle, resting comfortably after her reconstructive surgery. A section of another fishing pole was carefully measured, cut and glued inside the two broken ends of lucky green. Her frayed ends were carefully spliced together around its new, stronger inner core. Pale yellow thread to match the colors that hold the eyelets on was carefully spun around the splintered fiberglass and locked into place with a clear coat of fingernail polish.
Now all she has to do is dry.
Lucky green should be good as new after a days rest. Until she gets to go fishing again, ‘new green’ will have to do. I guess we will find out tonight just how lucky she is when she isn’t in the boat!
Do you have a lucky fishing pole?