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I went fishing with my older Boy today (8) and caught a northern pike. And hot diggity were we thrilled about that...but let me back up.

I remember walking through the woods with my Grandfather as a child. With the Swisher Sweet cigar in his hand, the passing smell of which now conjures vivid and warm memories, he'd show me wild woodland plants I could eat and that seemed to me just about the coolest thing ever. Wintergreen. Sassafras leaves. Fern fiddlheads. Berries. Wild mushrooms. We'd walk out to the marshy land behind his sinking house, the one his own father built on an island along the Grand River, and we'd go fishing. Pull worms from a rusting can and cast them into the river. Swisher Sweet smell through the willows and cat tails and the metallic call of the redwing blackbird.

I remember imagining when I was with him that we could, in fact, survive off the land. The fish. The plants. The squirrels. In my child mind I'd become a nomad. I could escape into the deep woods and live off wintergreen and sassafras leaves.

That notion of eating locally was planted into my head early, but I never really took it seriously. A childhood imagination. I never took it seriously as a notion until recently. Sure, sure...I'd been dabbling in my organic garden. I buy stuff from the local farmers market. I liked the Eating Local idea, but I wasn't really prepared to go out of my way for it until, for whatever reason, that Havard Red Meat study came out.

Red Meat Consumption Linked to Increased Risk of Total, Cardiovascular, and Cancer Mortality
One daily serving of unprocessed red meat (about the size of a deck of cards) was associated with a 13% increased risk of mortality, and one daily serving of processed red meat (one hot dog or two slices of bacon) was associated with a 20% increased risk.
We all knew that, of course. I's no huge revelation that red meat is horrible for you. I just wasn't prepared for exactly how enormously, unquestionably horrible it is for you. I used to imagine it was just sort of slightly bad...or maybe a gray area. No. Absolutely not. No gray area. It's just bad.

And I'm aware that from an Eating Local perspective one could buy local beef. Even lower fat grass fed beef.

But the call of the stuff I had learned from my grandfather came back to me. Walking through the woods, reaching out and grabbing something to nibble on. Catching fish by the shore.

Recently the Boys and I decided we're going to spend the summer learning to fish.

I've always enjoyed fishing. But save for a couple excursions out on the Big Lake with some family friends to catch rainbow trout or salmon, my fishing experience rarely went much beyond bluegill and sunfish.

And bluegill is fun. Don't get me wrong. They're plentiful, easy to find, and fun to catch, and I like the way they taste. But I always felt like less than a real fisherman being somebody who only fished for bluegill.

So the older boy and I recently ventured into fishing with spinners. We read up on 'em. We experimented with them on the lake for a while. We went fishing over the weekend, and then went today. Today we went down to the lake, the boy with his red and white spoon and I with my brass colored French spinner....and holy smokes.....I caught a northern pike. It was a pretty awesome day. We jumped around and cheered. We compared notes about our various fishing techniques and the lures we were using. I think we're getting the boy a similar spinner but of larger size next time.

It feels like I've come back to something, today. Between the garden where my boys have their own spaces for gardening, and the fishing, I feel like I'm returning to something simpler and basic. Something closer to home, in my memories of my grandfather and in my food. A continuum that I hope to hand off to my small boys.

Anyway...we still have much to learn about fishing. So if you happen to have some sage fishing advice, I'm all ears.

Cross Posted from Muskegon Critic

Originally posted to Muskegon Critic on Mon May 07, 2012 at 08:46 PM PDT.

Also republished by Personal Storytellers and Environmental Foodies.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Your diaries are really addicting. (16+ / 0-)

    There are diarists whose style I absolutely love, or diarists whose passion compels me to read their diaries, and allies and blog-friends whom I adore and would always want to read their diaries.  Your's are in a special class that might be all to themselves.

    I mean, I don't think I was reading too much about fishing and splitting wood, dark nights in Michigan, and Michigan in general before you came here.  Your diaries have some sort of bewitching mixture of hope, whimsy and connectivity to the good side of America past.

    Thank you to jayden, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, Aji and everyone in the Daily Kos community involved in gifting my subscription and gifting others!

    by Nulwee on Mon May 07, 2012 at 09:05:02 PM PDT

    •  He really is good. As an ex Migander, I always (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Youffraita, Larsstephens, Nulwee

      figured it is my bias, but naa. MuskegonC has a talent for writing and photography.

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Mon May 07, 2012 at 10:03:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Didja get him in Muskegon Lake? (10+ / 0-)

    Got fond memories of some very large pike from Muskegon Lake.  Even bigger ones from White Lake just north of you.   Great pike lakes, the both of them.  The respective rivers are good too.  

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Mon May 07, 2012 at 09:13:05 PM PDT

  •  Beautifully expressed. Thank you for (5+ / 0-)

    another great diary.
    Now,along with the fish,can you harvest any fiddlehead ferns? So delicious with pasta.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Mon May 07, 2012 at 09:39:27 PM PDT

  •  have you tracked Noddy's diaries? (4+ / 0-)

    she posted about cattails (and using them for food in various ways) and a bunch of other foraging merriment...

  •  Red meats? Squirrel, deer, waterfowl? Which (4+ / 0-)

    of these do you think are not "red", and/or which do you think are, per se, going to negatively impact your health?

    Personally, I shot some ducks in my day, and I never had a bad duck dinner.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Mon May 07, 2012 at 09:49:58 PM PDT

    •  Teal are the best!!! /nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Mon May 07, 2012 at 10:04:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Private property, the exclusive (shutting out) (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrsgoo, Larsstephens, indres, notdarkyet

    use of the land, is the culprit and accounts for the loss of our personal independence.  Private property keeps people from walking where they want and taking just what they need to eat.
    We can tell ourselves that ownership promotes careful stewardship, but it doesn't.  The evidence lies all around us in the abandoned houses, factories, fields and forests that succumb to raging fires because they are not properly managed.  EuroAmerican management has always focused on coercing some humans to do what others want, instead of focusing on what the land needs man, in the absence of large herds of mammals, to do.

    Think of the browsers in the forest.  What do they do when their numbers are sufficient? They eat the underbrush that otherwise feeds forest fires. They keep paths through woodlands and to water clear.  Why?  Because they don't like getting scratched any more than humans do.

    Managing each other and killing nature is really a stupid way to go.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Mon May 07, 2012 at 10:40:59 PM PDT

    •  You have touched on a great subject. Out here in (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      CA this debate has been going on for awhile. Especially in regards to water rights. Some good reading...

      The water is a public trust. Access to water is also public. But the questions brought up are not easily answered. As an owner of a marina and rv park, I am liable for what goes on. At the same time, we are responsible for paying taxes, levies, permits, insurance and our mortgage. So I'm supposed to provide free access? Haven't received any checks in the mail yet. In fact, our property insurance carrier tried to change from 25% down / 8 payments to oh basically 4 equal payments! We beat that back for this year.

      We totally support state park access. That is the feeder system for RV parks like ours. I have no problem competing with our own tax dollars. They have to accept anybody. We can be more selective. ie: no crazy 20 something drunken tentapalooza here. Those 20 somethings will grow up (just like I did) buy an RV/boat and want a quieter place to party and relax. Sure, they can still go to the state park, but they come here (our niche is quiet) and they like it better.

      if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

      by mrsgoo on Mon May 07, 2012 at 11:12:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  People encased in machines should be (0+ / 0-)

        in a different category, just as artificial persons (corporations) should be in a different category from the natural person and the natural environment. And persons who manage the natural environment for its productive potential should not be penalized and burdened as if they were "enjoying" some special privilege which others can envy and claim for themselves.  Ownership implies an acceptance of obligation, much as marriage involves an acceptance of mutual obligations. Some people, perhaps because they are incapable of caring and sharing, reject obligation and pretend that ownership and citizenship and marriage and parentage are all about privilege and status and authority. Instead of realizing that ownership means work, they imagine it makes them more important and weighty, as if donning a crown makes a king and "clothes make the man."
        Superficial optics is all some people have.

        People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

        by hannah on Tue May 08, 2012 at 06:01:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Having been recently diagnosed with type II (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lorikeet, Larsstephens, notdarkyet

    diabetes (3/18), which was the wakeup call of my life for a grand overhaul of eating.. yes, I can certainly agree that red meat/esp beef is really, really bad. I told my Dr. on my followup visit on 4/29 that she has saved me about 3k. DH and his R buddy were talking about raising a steer. Good grass fed, no antibiotic beef. There is no good beef when you are diabetic.

    The dr. perscribed Metformin. long story short, I was scared shitless to start taking it and just ate "normally" for 5 days while checking my blood sugar. lemme tell ya - pancakes with syrup and sausage gravy with biscuits - not. so. good. We recently got lazy and did a go to dinner of a hamburger patty/chili/cheese - wow! That really blew the numbers to sheeite.

    The good news - my a1c was at 6.2 (a1c is a blood test that says where your sugar has averaged for about 3 months). They try to keep diabetics at 7.0. Dr. said she wanted me at 6.5. Normal folks are under 6. Dr. said if I keep my numbers down the way I have, she'll cut the Metformin to 1 every other day. She originally prescribed 2 a day but I changed my eating habits so fast, she agreed to only 1 per day.

    ANYWAY - let's talk fishing!

    Spinner -vs- bait caster. It would be more peaceful to bring up the 2nd amendment.

    Here's a start

    I grew up fishing Lake St. Clair. Yellow Perch with hook and sinker. Pickerel/Walleye trolling with worm rigs. Grew up with baitcaster reels. Moved to CA in 1988, didn't start fishing here until 2006. Baitcasters and bait fishing (sinker/leader) for striped bass and sturgeon.

    We have many customers who are trollers. We tried that a couple of years ago. It is a sure fire road to divorce. Unlike the lakes in MI, the CA Delta has a bottom that undulates. Shallow/Deep. Unless you know the area you are trolling, you are not going to have a good time. We tried that once, went back to bait fishing and are still happily married.

    Spinning rods are good for the kids. "professional overspin" LOL! is the bain of baitcasting rods. And believe you me, you WILL do it. The DH and I are stuck on Abu Garcia 550C3's (about 60 bucks) and Ugly Stik USCA 76 Striper rods (about 35 bucks). His RWNJ fishing buddy, he's all about Gloomis rods (big bux) and Shimano reels (really big bux). I have fished his combo. I hate that reel. That thing wants to overspin in a heartbeat.

    It all depends on if you are out to catch fish or catch a buzz. DH's RW buddy - comes down to have a good time. When DH and I fish - we fish. No drinkin. Guess who catches more fish? And there is the whole - I spent big, big bux on my stuff thing going on.

    One of the best fisherman who shows up in our marina is a retired school janitor. He fishes with a Penn bait caster. And literally, I tell people, the dude could catch fish in a toilet bowl. When he retired, they got together and bought him a really expensive Shimano. He refuses to use it! LOL!!

    OTOH - DH tried fishing Salmon on the Sacramento last fall. That is a trolling gig. He caught one. I am now a huge fresh Salmon fan. We did go trolling together on the Sacramento. The bottom is much flatter than the San Joaquin. No gear change - just lures instead of bait. Am looking forward to doing it again.

    if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

    by mrsgoo on Mon May 07, 2012 at 10:49:52 PM PDT

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