National Fishing Week (or Findley vs. the boatfish)

If you didn’t get a chance to grab a copy of Sunday’s Toronto Sun (and shame on you if you didn’t), here is what you missed.

Recognize anyone? Findley was featured in the Sun’s National Fishing Week special section. Last summer, during our vacation at Balsam Lake, Findley caught his first ‘boatfish’. If you don’t know what a boatfish is, read on:

“Help Daddy, help Daddy, help!”

Those five frantic words set everything in motion. Five-year-old Findley’s push button reel just didn’t have enough torque to keep up with the lively three-pound smallmouth bass. Taking the rod from his small hands I gently nursed the fishing line, hand-over-hand, while Finn (already living up to his fishing name) worked against me, stabbing the net into the water and driving our catch under the boat.

I coaxed the fresh fish back, all the while expecting the line to slice open my hands. Finn’s net work proved successful this time and we landed his first boatfish.

I say boatfish, because it was Finn’s first fishing trip in the 18-foot boat.
He had earned his dock-fishing stripes—keen listening, slow movements, quiet voice—and was ready for the big water.

After securing the fish on a stringer, we celebrated our catch with a snack and a juice box. Five, then ten minutes went by without any further action – a lifetime to a five-year-old. It didn’t matter, the stringer’s jangle owned the boy’s attention. “Should we go show your friends the fish?” I asked him.
Oh yes.

The 90 horsepower engine roared to life and we powered out of Turtle Swamp. We arrived as crowning victors to the dock 10 minutes later. 

Word of Finn’s bass spread quickly. Cottage neighbour after neighbour came by to catch a glimpse of the big catch, still in the water and jangling on the stringer.

“I’ll give you 50 cents for your fish,” one old timer offered.
“No thanks,” Finn replied, “I’m going to let him go so he can be with his Mommy.”

**I have to note that the story is reprinted with permission from Dean – original author of the Turtle Swamp tale.
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