Happy to be Gone Fishin’

Did you ever go to a place where time didn’t matter?

I went there last week. It was close to home, but I might as well have been a thousand miles away.

I burned just a few gallons of gas, but the trip was worth a fortune.

Pressures mount. Obligations compound. Chores pile up. And pretty soon, life becomes more a matter of surviving than living.

That is why I fish.

No matter what needs to be done, it really doesn’t matter out on the lake. I am not the first person to notice this. For generations, the “Gone Fishin’” sign hanging on a string over a door has signaled loud and clear that something other than what normally happens is taking precedence.

My day last week was one without a deadline. The schedule was wide open and nobody expected me to be anywhere. With nothing in mind other than get to the water, I hitched up the trailer and dragged the BassCat to Lake Milton.

The day was young when I launched from the Pointview ramp. There were only a few trailers in the parking lot, evidence that I wouldn’t be bothered by too many other boaters. Fine with me. Because to be “Gone Fishin’” means the window of tolerance for annoyances is pretty small.

The sky was a beautiful blue, with just enough puffy clouds to make the temperature just about perfect. Here and there on the calm lid of Lake Milton tiny dimples indicated baby shad breaking the surface.

I idled up into the so-called “river” section of the lake. A few gulls circled. The occasional carp jumped. An osprey screeched as it flew toward a perch near Ellsworth Road.

I didn’t stop until I passed Shilling’s Mill. The depth finder pretty much bottomed out when I switched off the Merc and deployed the electric MotorGuide. About five casts into the morning, a 15-inch smallmouth bass munched my Zoom Super Fluke and the fishing began in earnest.

It wasn’t that I had not been fishing — because I’d Gone Fishin’ after all — but the first fish of the day really is the ice-breaker.

Soon enough another smallie hit. And then a nice largemouth took the bait. I worked my way around the various rocks and trees and managed to stay interested with catching while busy with fishing.

I don’t wear a watch on casual Gone Fishin’ days, so after what seemed like two hours, I pulled my phone from the boat’s console storage box. It was 3 o’clock. I’d arrived at the lake around 8 that morning. Seven hours had transpired.

Impossible. I really was in a minor panic. Where had the time gone?

But then I chilled. What did it matter? Nobody needed me to be anywhere other than where I wanted to be.

So I stayed another two hours.

Sometimes people say they are Gone Fishin’ when they really mean they are playing hooky. But I really was gone fishing last week, and it was time well spent.

Thank goodness for the places and the days that time forgets.


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