By Carl Rauscher
“Want to know a secret, Grandpa? There’s no fish in this river. Probably hasn’t been any here since before I was born.”
“Hush up and watch your line.”
“Who’s going to hear us? We’re sitting on this cruddy dock getting sunburnt with not another soul around.”
They sat in silence for a while, watching their brightly colored bobbers dance in the gently flowing river current. The older man liked this spot because the water was a surprisingly deep blue and free from debris choking the rest of the river.
“Can we head back soon? I’m supposed to meet up with Terry and the others online at 3…” the boy said as he started pulling his line in.
“Patience, young man. A little more time out here with me won’t kill you.” The old man dug around in the cooler at his side. “Sandwich?”
“Sure.” The boy unwrapped it and took a bite, dangling his pole off one leg.
“Your Grandma used to make me sandwiches just like these for my lunch. Those days, of course, the fish were so plentiful you could just about walk from your boat to the treeline over there to take care of business. That was before the plant moved in and messed up the river, but me and the guys always found time to sneak out and toss the ol’ pole in the water.”
The old man looked out at his bobber and tightened his line a bit with the oversized reel. “Tommy was the last to go,” he reflected. “I’d hope your dad would join me one day, but…”
“Hey, did you see that?” The boy pointed toward the water where one of the bobbers dipped below the surface and popped back up. “Oh, jeez! What do I do, Grandpa?”
The old man smiled and set down his pole to help the excited youth reel in the line, much like his grandfather had once showed him. A tiny bluegill splashed and wriggled in the air, spinning around the grinning boy’s face and at that moment, it was the greatest fish either one had ever seen.
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