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Fishing buddies

Judy Van Put - Columnist
Posted 6/15/20

“Things happen for a reason.”

An old saying that I find myself repeating from time to time when I can't immediately figure something out, or if things turn out quite differently from what was …

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Fishing buddies

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“Things happen for a reason.”

An old saying that I find myself repeating from time to time when I can't immediately figure something out, or if things turn out quite differently from what was expected.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from my friend, Jim Newton, who said, “I've got a great, warm fishing story to tell you and Ed sometime. It'll take too long to type it but suffice to say it was great!”

Of course, we were curious to hear the story, and enjoyed it so much that I asked permission to share it with the readers of the Sullivan County Democrat.

It was in the glorious month of May; Jim was looking forward to his first fishing trip of the year and had planned take his boat to a favorite lake. He laid his fishing rods against the side of his truck and proceeded to load the rest of his gear and drive to his destination.

When he arrived, he realized he didn't have the rods with him -- they must have fallen from the side of the truck when he pulled away! So he rushed back home to recover them, but they were nowhere to be found. He saw a neighbor mowing her lawn and inquired whether she had seen the two fishing poles; she replied that she had seen a young boy riding a scooter and carrying two fishing poles, and that he asked her if she had lost two fishing poles, and she told him she had not.

Jim knew of a boy named Tyler Grimm who lived down the street and went to his house to see if he knew anything about the missing equipment. As luck would have it, Tyler was outside with his mom and grandfather.

Jim told them that he was embarrassed to say that he had laid his fishing poles up against his truck, and they had fallen on the ground when he took off and that he was looking for them, and did Tyler happen to know who might have them. Tyler replied that his cousin told him that she had seen two boys going up the street with two fishing poles, and she described the boys; Tyler said he knew who they were and where they lived. Jim asked if Tyler could go with him to their house to recover the poles.

They arrived at the house and found the boys and their mother in the yard, and again Jim explained how embarrassed he was to say he had left his fishing poles against the side of his truck, and they had fallen on the ground when he drove off, and that he believed those were the missing poles. Without hesitation, the boys returned them to him. Jim said that he had “a wad of singles” in his pocket and rewarded the boys for their honesty.

On their way back to Tyler's house, Jim realized he didn't have any more cash in his pocket to thank him for his help, and so he asked Tyler if he liked to fish. Tyler said he did (he later revealed that he loved to fish, and that it was his favorite thing to do!) and Jim asked, “how would you like to go fishing with me?” and when he said yes, Jim instructed him to go and ask permission; and to put a jacket on, as it would be chilly out on the water.

He got another seat for the boat and the pair took off for a nearby lake. When they arrived and launched the boat onto the water, Tyler, seeing it was a small boat, asked “does this ever tip over?” and Jim answered, “only when you catch a big fish!”

Jim gave Tyler a life jacket and started to troll, explaining what trolling was, rowing to cover a lot of water. Tyler caught the first fish and took a picture of it. When Jim asked if he wanted to keep it Tyler answered ‘No.' Jim replied, “that's good, we'll have more fish in the lake.” The day went on, and both continued to catch fish; every time Jim had a fish on the line, he'd hand his rod over to Tyler to reel it in. Then Jim hooked a fish that really bent the rod - he handed it to Tyler and said, “take my pole, this is quite a fish - we'll see what's going on here!” Tyler had fun reeling it in, and Jim netted the fish, a huge 16-inch Black Crappie -the biggest Crappie he'd ever caught - he gave it to Tyler who said, “This is the biggest fish I've ever caught!”

They took several pictures of the fish, and Tyler reminisced, “It was really cool that I caught a fish that big - I was excited to get him in the boat!” When asked if he was afraid of losing the fish, he said no, he felt he could get it in, having had confidence in landing fish before.

On the ride home Tyler said to Jim, “Thanks for taking me fishing!” and Jim replied that he'd had a good time, too, and added “we're going to do this again!” And that it was a great First Day of the season for him.

And so, the story goes… things happen for a reason! What could have been a disappointing loss of equipment for a seasoned angler turned out to be a great story of honesty; helpfulness; and an unexpected camaraderie between neighbors of vastly different generations; resulting in a greatly successful fishing date, and the promise of more to follow.

Judy Van Put is a long-time member of the NYS Outdoor Writers Association, and is the recipient of the New York State Council of Trout Unlimited's Professional Communications Award.

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