Forget your dimly lit Italian restaurants and scenic walks along the ocean. In my mind, there’s nothing as romantic as a muddy pond way back in the woods.
This could explain why I’m 29 and still haven’t been married. High expectations, I suppose.
Little did I know, the girls were there for another reason — to show us up.
My girlfriend, Nichelle, and I had been at the pond about 10 minutes when Brendan and his fiancée, Emily, showed up. I had been showing Nichelle how to cast out my spinning rod, which I had fitted with the traditional worm and bobber setup. I had her casting into a dropoff where I knew crappie loved to sit near the dike. I rigged up a pole for Emily while they walked down the shoreline, and pretty soon Brendan caught the first fish of the day — a nice crappie he hooked on a Culprit plastic worm. I tossed Emily’s worm in the water and set it down by her chair, then started casting out a Ned Rig on my light crappie pole. I got maybe two casts in when Nichelle’s bobber — or “bobbin,” as she liked to call it — plopped under water and she set the hook on a giant crappie.
I don’t think I’m overexaggerating when I say that I was more thrilled than she was. It’s not that she wasn’t glad to catch a nice, big fish — but I was whooping and hollering “Atta baby!” as she pulled it ashore. Talk about a proud moment.
I unhooked her crappie just in time for Emily to hook what looked like a nice largemouth bass, but it dislodged the hook in the pond scum that had formed around the edges. Soon, however, she got another one and managed to land it. About the same time, Nichelle caught a decent bass. At this point, I was the only one who hadn’t caught anything yet. Maybe that had more to do with the fact I was more concerned with watching Nichelle’s “bobbin” than putting my own lure in the water, I dunno, but she was a natural.
Finally, as I jigged my little Ned Rig back to me, I hooked something big and my tiny pole bent nearly in half. I reeled like crazy and finally pulled in a big crappie. I held it up for a picture with Nichelle in the background, a big grin across her face. She soon was beating me about seven fish to two. She found a good bluegill spot and pulled in several in a short span of time. The bite slowed down and we chatted a bit with my uncle and cousin, who had come down to see how we were doing. Brendan had several bites, but hadn’t gotten another hookset yet, though Emily had caught several by that time and was just absolutely destroying his ego.
We soon decided to start walking up the bank to where Brendan had caught his first fish, deciding there might be some catfish up that way where the water was coming in. We got several bluegills and a couple of crappie in this one spot, before Nichelle walked up a ways toward a tree.
“She’s going to get tangled,” I thought to myself.
Sure enough, she got tangled. Unlike me, however, she managed to shake it free and kept fishing with a little chunk of the worm that remained. She named it Frank. Now I know the secret of fishing — name your worm.
Emily caught a big crappie, bringing her total up to something about four by that point. I had lost count, all I knew is they were showing us up. Brendan had only caught the one fish.
I hooked into a few more bluegills, but nothing great, before I got caught in the same tree she did. I tried to yank it free, but the worm and “bobbin” came off.
I laid down on the bank and watched as Nichelle fished. We started taking turns catching bluegill with the little chunk of Frank that was left. But soon, Frank went flying off the hook as I made a cast.
Ironically, I was singing “I Believe I Can Fly” at that exact moment. With the box of worms up the bank a ways, we just relaxed on the bank for a bit and enjoyed the nice weather.
Pretty soon, Brendan and Emily decided to call it a day, so we walked back toward the car. We were almost there when I pulled a Josh. My foot slid up under me on the muddy hill and I fell hard on my knee. Nichelle looked worried and asked me if I was OK. I sorta laughed at my luck at first and said “Yeah, I’m all good,” but then I winced as I tried to put pressure on my wrist to stand up. Apparently I had hit that harder than my knee.
Pro tip: If you ever do fall down a muddy bank while fishing with your date, you can make a smooth recovery by screaming “I’m falling for youuuu!” as you slide down the hill. If nothing else, you’ll get a pity laugh.
After that, with the sky getting dark, we gave up fishing and laid out a beach towel on the bank, watching the stars come out after sunset before we decided to call it a night and head back to pick up her car at Petro Deli.
Even though I got thoroughly beaten by a pair of girls at the only thing I’ve ever been sort of good at, I can take solace in the fact that it was one of the best dates I’ve ever been on. I can’t wait to take them again!
The quartet of anglers came away with eight catfish totaling 57 pounds.
“Quite an adventure,” River said.