Catching on to Fishing

Dad woke me to go fishing at 4:30 in the morning by squeezing my foot ever so gently. I was six and couldn't believe waking up that early could feel so bad.

We drove to a friend's farm pond while it was still black outside. Dad left the engine running as he got out to open one gate after the next. He told me to watch closely so next time, I could open the gates.

Branches clawed at my window, and the pasture was a tunnel. It was frightening. Yet Dad, unfazed, kept driving.

Dad parked and we walked to the pond. I stayed glued to his hip as we edged forward like reconnaissance soldiers-a large one and a tiny one holding on. How did he know where he was going? Stars began to wink after we had walked a while in the dark, and I found I vaguely could make out the weed-covered earthen dam that formed the near boundary of the pond.

The weeds and trees crowded over the edge of the bank into the pond. The sky began to lighten, and I began to feel a little braver. A pall of white mist hovered over the motionless water. It tapered up in vapors that disappeared. Then a gentle breeze made the vapors begin to swirl. I got cold and began to shiver, I didn't want to complain, but I couldn't help it.

"Aren't you cold?" I whimpered.

"Warm as toast," Dad said. "You'll get warmer when the sun comes up. Now be really quiet, or you'll scare the fish away." Then Dad waded out into the fog, making a gesture with his head indicating I was to follow. I hung back. "That's why we've got hip boots on!" he whispered. "We've got to get away from the bank and the trees a little, so we can cast."

The week before he had coached me on casting with a rod and reel. He had tied a smooth weight on my line and let me cast it in the yard. He said I was gifted at casting. We had prepared our rods and reels the evening before. He fixed mine up and sort of made me think I was doing it myself.

We had tied a lure on my line that had two sets of sinister hooks. It was black and dark green, with bright yellow eyes. I felt it was a weapon with magical powers and had