We live at the Stone Mountain Campground at the base of the enormous granite mountain. Very near our RV is a lake that practically circles the mountain and provides a beautiful setting for our campsite. One day while hiking around the area I walked to the water’s edge and was suddenly overcome with a strong desire to do some fishing – something I had not done in years. Unfortunately I had no fishing equipment with me and was forced to take a trip to Wal-Mart to pick up some supplies.
I soon realized that fishing has become way too complicated. The fake worms, lures, hooks, bobbers, strings, weights and other more sophisticated equipment was almost overwhelming for an amateur fisherman. Two complete rows of fishing supplies invited me to open my wallet and invest a few hundred bucks – just for the chance to catch a bluegill or two. I finally decided on a mid-priced ‘Zebco’ rod and reel featuring the “Wide-range, Power Train Drag” – but really I bought it because it was red. The package also came with a few yellow and orange rubber things that must be lures for catching the really big ones and some hooks, weights and bobbers. It just did not seem right though for me to leave the store without some other things and I settled on the “Outdoor Angler” Lizard bait designed to attract fish from thick weeds, brush and around fallen timber. If my memory serves me correctly – I seemed to always end up in brush or trees whenever I fished in the past – so maybe these things would at least help me catch a fish while I was hung in the tree limbs. I also grabbed a bag of “Luck ‘E’ Strike” Purple Fire Twirl Tail” artificial worms and some extra weights that proved to be way too heavy for the small bobbers and could probably be used to anchor a boat if need be. But now I felt like a real fisherman.
Of course the last thing on my list would be the most important item of all – a Georgia fishing license. I was interested in just a one month (really cheap) license that would keep the game wardens happy. My options were not what I expected. A three-day fishing pass would allow me just three days of fishing for $28. The only other option was a $48 year-long pass that would allow me to fish every day we were in Georgia – but about $43 more than I expected to spend. It was, unfortunately, the best option and so I left Wal-Mart ready to fish – but nearly a hundred dollars in the hole. Better get to fishing and soon.
I have now fished about a half a dozen times and have yet to catch a fish or even get a bite from one. The “Wide Range Power Train Drag” rod and reel that I invested in can only cast about ten feet from the shore and stays in a tangled mess most of the time. Furthermore there does not seem to be any interest from the fish in the “Outdoor Angler Lizards” or any of the other bait yellow, orange or purple. While standing on the shore with my line just a few feet from me after yet another powerful cast of six feet – I get the feeling the fish are under the water laughing at me. Now and then I get excited thinking that I may have one on the line only to realize the bobbing came from another gust of wind or I had snagged yet another tree limb. If nothing else I am doing my share in keeping the water clean of debris.
While sitting on the bank the other day I began thinking what I could have done with the hundred or so bucks I spent on this fishing thing. I could play golf three times; take Lisa out to eat at least four times; watch maybe eight to ten movies,; buy a new pair or shoes – maybe a couple of pair; or give it away to the starving children in Africa – do something that would make me feel good. But here I sit freezing on the muddy shore of Stone Mountain Lake hoping no one is watching as I cast my pitiful line no farther than the old man down the way using a cane pole – all while being mocked by the stupid fish down below.
Somewhere fishermen are hauling in twenty pound wide-mouth bass and catfish the size of Volkswagens. They are using specialized bait that has been engineered to draw certain fish at certain depths in certain water temperatures. They know what depth to fish and what fish to fish. They win prize money by the thousands for their huge catch and proudly cook up their haul for their impressed family after a long day of successful angling.
I just wish I could get a bite.