It is a perfect evening for fishing. The water is calm and clear with only the occasional ripple brought on by the late afternoon breeze. The air crisp and cool; temperatures hovering just below 70 without an ounce of humidity in the air. We glide swiftly over the glass-like water until we round the bend and decelerate rapidly. We maneuver the boat into a quiet little cover where sunlight is blocked by the shadows of large birch trees with leaves overhanging the coastline. Taking our positions on the boat, we grab our poles and cast the lines holding rubbery, fake worms into the waters below.

We are always on a mission when we go out on our boat; to catch and release the biggest bass possible. But the scenery never ceases to amaze me. I end up spending a large amount of my time sightseeing our surroundings as I deftly cast over and over again. I notice how a large collection of weedy plants along the coastline resemble a larger version of green onions. They have white shoots at the bottom; held-fast with long roots into the mucky sand beneath them. They shoot large green stalks up into the air at least 3 or 4 feet high. As we troll around another bend, we stop in front of a large array of lily pads. The beauty and colors is nothing short of one of Monet’s famous paintings. There are roughly 100 green lily pads clustered together; some of their edges overlapping. Pinkish-white flowers top a few, swaying gently in the breeze. Behind the pads, lined rows of those tall green onion plants and brown cattails. Swimming in a line, weaving in out of the stalks, is a family of little brown ducks. They appear to be searching for food, or at the least, playing follow the leader.

My sightseeing comes to a quick end when I feel a pull on the end of my line. I reel the line in just a little, and sure enough meet resistance. Pulling back hard on the line, I set the hook and begin a mad dash to reel the line in as quickly as possible. The fish on the other end is having nothing of this; he is fighting for dear life and making my life hard by trying to make a run down to the bottom of the lake. I turn the crank with all my might and manage to get the fish up near the surface. My husband drops his pole and comes running to the back of the boat. We both stare in awe as the fish comes into view; it is a large four pound bass with a giant white gleaming belly; his green scales shimmer like sequins under the setting sun. I manage to pull him in close to the boat; my husband ready to pull him out of the water with his bare hands when “snap!” The line breaks. Just as quickly as I had him, my beautiful bass is gone, free to resume his life of roaming the depths for food. I can’t get his image out of my mind; the colors and strength in such a small creature become a sharp reminder: always give respect to your competitor no matter what the competition.

Today’s simplest pleasures:

1.) Boating can be a relaxing way to observe and enjoy an aquatic environment.

2.) Fishing is a sport that can be enjoyed by young, old, novice, and advanced. It is a great way to share summer experiences with families and friends alike.

3.) The excitement and adrenaline rush produced by catching a big fish on the end of your line is equivalent to almost any other sport out there.

4.) When fishing, give respect to your competitor on the other end of the line. Always catch and release to help prevent the body of water from being depleted of its natural level of habitants.