Hands in the Water: Memories Of A Bass Lake
As a child, I was convinced the dock at our family’s lake house was the epicenter of all fish activity. My evidence was an arching mulberry tree that overhung the bank and dropped its dark-purple fruit into the water, coaxing fish to swarm in response—tiny sunfish darting busily around the rocks, bass lurking in the shade and catfish cruising the banks. Other evidence included stringers full of fish, broken lines and distant splashes echoing across the water, generally just after sunset.
My proof, however, came one slow summer day as a child, while my twin brother, older sister, mom and dad were sunning on the dock. I’d waded into the shallow water with a net, slowly dipping my toes beneath the surface and watching tiny fish dart away. The rocks were slippery from the moss, but the water was clear. I stood there for a few moments, net in hand, and slowly the tiny fish began to emerge from the depths and return to their original positions. I took my hand and began to gently wave it back and forth. The fish drifted closer. I kept waving my hand, feet steady and legs as still as a tree trunk, and those bluegills kept drifting toward my makeshift decoy until I swiped the net…