The best time to go fishing is whenever you can

Do you know children who mope and pout when they fail to get that thing they really want?

That’s me when the weather is perfect, the fishing is excellent and I’m unable to hitch up the Bass Cat for a quick trip to a lake. After a lifetime of waiting for seats at restaurants, vacation time to arrive and the next opportunity to go fishing, my patience sometimes wears thin.

So, like the spoiled child who was denied a favorite treat, I was in a pouting mood Thursday, a day that I often reserve to enjoy a mid-week fishing trip. I had visions of pitching lures to shoreline cover for largemouth bass or dabbling jigs around flooded willows for slab-side crappies.

Instead of casting off the front deck of my boat, I was sitting in a faux leather chair in the customer waiting area of a car dealership in Boardman, awaiting the diagnosis and repair of a malfunctioning gadget in my tow vehicle’s engine.

Remember Thursday’s weather? It absolutely screamed “let’s go fishing.” But no, no fishing for me.

Anglers are rarely satisfied. We might catch five crappies, but become restless waiting for the sixth. We might catch a 22-inch walleye, and then yearn for a 25. We might have fished four times in the past two weeks, but then grow impatient when the next trip gets postponed.

So I pouted in the waiting room and passed the time imagining vicious strikes, rock-solid hooksets and leaping largemouths.

I suppose I could have ignored the big warning displayed on the vehicle’s digital display — or procrastinated. It’s not like it threatened to send me spinning out of control. It simply said the emissions system had a problem. So I could have blown a little smoke and gone fishing.

But it’s pretty hard to just tune out our responsibilities, so I let the little bit of adult in me take precedence. I made an appointment with the car dealer’s service shop.

I moped though I was doing the grown-up thing and taking care of the important business of making sure my vehicle was running properly. But I chuckled at the irony of the show on the waiting room TV. “The Young and the Restless” pretty much summed up my thoughts (well, at least the “restless” part).

I learned long ago that a lousy weather forecast is not a good enough reason to cancel a fishing trip. After sitting at home in perfectly fine weather on days when forecasters said it would be raining, I decided it’s better to endure inclement weather on the water at Mosquito, Shenango, Milton, Berlin or West Branch.

They say the best time to go fishing is whenever you can. That has been my motto for 40 years and more. More often than not, the decision to go to the water has hinged not so much on news that the fish were biting as on the mere fact I had the time and inclination.

Call me an opportunist. But isn’t that the essence of the angler? We are, when it’s all said and done, just as opportunistic as the fish we seek to catch.


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