Northern lake takes the cake

He’d been hinting at it for about a week; edging ever closer to what I’d hoped would be the ultimate question and result in the day I’ve been waiting for since the smooth-talking outdoorsman first put a minnow on my fishing hook.
“I was thinking about going trout fishing this weekend. Would you like to go along?” he said from the other end of the phone line.
There would be no trying to contain my inner child-like glee this time; no hiding my absolute enthusiasm at the prospect of landing a fighting machine—cousin to a salmon.
I did a fist pump in the air, kicked my leg forward and up, and smiled as wide as the Grand Canyon.
“You bet I do!” I replied.
Immediately I pictured myself landing a record-weight trout that would take me an hour to reel in. I would use every muscle I had. Maybe it would pull me overboard and I’d have to wrestle it into the boat.
The trout would be so big, I wouldn’t be able to pick it up for that photograph in the latest fishing magazine.
My resolve was crystal clear. The lean, mean fighting machine swimming in those deep cold waters out there in a northern lake had no idea who was coming for him.
“But there’s only one catch,” added the man with the tackle box (I’d heard that cautionary statement before, but this time I knew he wasn’t going to say we’d have to snowshoe two miles in to get to the almighty lake).
Instead, it was a call to the crowing rooster in me and an early start to the fishing trip.
No problem. I was born early—5:20 a.m. to be exact.
It was like Christmas morning on that “troutful” day. I flew out of bed and into fishing gear, packed a lunch, slammed a coffee, stuffed my pack with chocolate and mosquito repellent, and waited on the street corner at the pick-up point with my straw hat.
I was so “bare bones basic,” in fact, that my smooth-talking outdoorsman nearly drove right by me, mistaking me for a pedestrian.
In the boat on that northern lake, I waited eagerly for my fishing rod to be loaded with a flashy, smart-looking roguish lure like the one the outdoorsman had tied to his own line.
All I could think about was that rod-snatching bulldog cheetah of freshwater that had my name tattooed on his gills.
Hopes were dashed when I saw the lure my fishing partner pulled out of the tackle box for my rod, coupled with a lead weight much bigger than I thought I needed.
I didn’t know a thing about trout fishing, but I was sure he’d made mine an ill-fated mission.
“I’d like to change to something else. I think the weight is too heavy and I’d like a bigger lure,” I proposed after a long, long while of trolling in vain.
“Really?” he queried, in a curiously responsive way.
“When you catch your first trout, then you can change it,” he smiled.
Empty-handed. Yes, that would be me.
There are times when I know what I’m talking about and times when I do not. This was one of those times.
It was all I could do to reel in—catch and release—four big, beautiful, strong fighting machines, including a 30-inch fat lunker.
And when I gave the brute back to the deep, the outdoorsman asked, “Do you want to change up that lure now?”
I just smiled my “you were right” smile and said, “Not in a million years,” as I watched that gorgeous fish jettison away.
I am the luckiest girl I know.

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