A beautiful late winter afternoon in the neighborhood; cloudless, 61 degrees and just enough of a breeze to make you reach for a jacket.
A handful of trucks and a Lexus SUV are in the parking lot by the boat ramp. The lake is bathed in sunshine. A boat is trolling near the bridge, so far away it’s barely a dot on the horizon.
A half dozen fishermen are casting from the bank.
Its a bank fishing afternoon although the odds of actually catching a fish from the bank are pretty slim. The water temperature is still in the mid 50s. Most of the fish are wandering in no man’s land between their deep water winter homes and shallow water spawning area. Maybe the local fishing report of some shallow water, spawning crappie action has attracted the fishermen.
Maybe, but it’s probably the sunshine. A sunny afternoon is a fisherman magnet. It’s why I’m here.
A large man wearing overalls, a plaid shirt and knee boots cheerfully asks if I’ve had any luck but before I can answer he says he’s caught two small bass. I have not enjoyed any luck and confess as much. I assume he means fishing luck. The fact that I’m lucky enough to be here – casting a plug, enjoying the sunshine, watching the ducks, listening the drone of distant boats roaring across the lake – makes me extremely lucky.
Two women arrive. By their ages and appearance I’d guess a mom and adult daughter. The older of the two also inquires about my luck. She too means fishing luck but this time a fudge and say it’s been a pretty good afternoon – which it has.
A small dock is anchored beside the boat ramp. It is just large enough to tie off a couple of bass boats. Each woman grips a tackle box and spinning rod. They walk onto the dock, sit cross-legged, and begin to string their rods.
A boat carrying two men idles toward the dock. One of the guys crawls out of the cockpit, steps onto the dock and heads toward a blue Ford.
We exchange nods. I know what’s coming.
“Had any luck?’
This time I’m ready.
“Not yet. But I hope to.”