THE ROOT ISSUE
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IN HONOR OF NATIONAL FISHING DAY! Some Tale About Some Fishtails
While baseball has earned a reputation as America’s favorite national pastime, fishing has to be a close second. Colorado’s free fishing day occurs this month, so I figured I’d take this opportunity to share some of my best (and most interesting) fishing stories. I’ve fished pretty much all my life, but my earliest memories are of spending days on the banks of Fish Lake in Utah with my grandfather. As the designated fisherman in my family, my grandfather was over the moon when I showed an interest. My dad joined us out on the lake a handful of times, but all of us knew that he didn’t really like to fish. My grandpa quickly capitalized on my dad’s disdain for the sport. He would hand me a regular fishing pole and give my dad a paddle, an oval-shaped pole with holes cut on each side with no rod or reel, instead. It was as if my grandpa thought, “If you don’t like my hobby, I guess I’ll make you really work for it.” One day, I finally caught more rainbow trout than my grandpa. While I loved every experience out on the lake with him, that day was definitely more memorable and exhilarating than the rest. Since I grew up with a great appreciation for fishing, I wanted to find a way to get my kids involved by taking our experiences to the next level: out at sea. Five or so years ago, we were on a vacation in Hawaii and my two oldest boys, Matthew and Nathan, agreed to
join their dear old dad on a deep-sea fishing adventure in search of a marlin. We were supposed to catch a red-eye flight back to Colorado, so that morning, we chartered a boat with a guide and watched the sun come up out over the ocean. We’d been out there for a couple of hours and hadn’t seen anything, so our captain, who was getting quite frustrated, set up six poles all around the boat to increase our chances. Just when we were about to cut our losses and head back, one of the lines bent way down. Finally! I started reeling and reeling and reeling. Unfortunately, after spending the whole day out in the hot sun, I was feeling pretty dehydrated and lightheaded. Nathan took over. He pulled and reeled like his life depended on it. Suddenly, the pole went from bending to running completely slack. The captain said that fish do this when they get ready to dive and that we should be prepared to reel even harder. When Nathan got tired, he handed the pole over to Matthew who also gave it his all. We kept looking over the edge of the boat to see how close we were getting to bringing it in, but all we could see was a dark shadow under the water. The captain started to feel a little unsure about what was going on at the other end of the line. Whatever we caught was definitely big, but it wasn’t fighting anymore.
saw what was giving us all that trouble: a swordfish. Not just any kind of swordfish though — a dead swordfish. Apparently, the fish had turned itself around and got wrapped up in the line. When we pulled on the line, we forced it to swim backward, which meant that it couldn’t push the water out of its gills. Essentially, we did the unthinkable: We drowned a fish. Once we got back to the marina, we took our pictures holding the swordfish — and made sure not to tell anyone about my dreaded seasickness. Afterward, we donated the meat to some local restaurants. In the years since that experience, I’ve decided that casual fishing out on the lake works just fine for me. No need to drown any more fish!
– Dr. Scott Lowry
After a few more hours of strenuous reeling (and a few nauseous episodes), we finally
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