I was looking out over the Gulf of Mexico and noticed a fisherman drawing in his net and what a great catch he had. It took me back to the days when I loved fishing in the Scugog River and the number of hours spent patiently waiting for "the big one" to bite at my bait.
We all had our favorite spots to cast our lines, and one of mine was behind the Allen and Hanbury plant on King Street. There were a number of boathouses along the shore and one could go out on a wharf along beside the boathouse, set the bait pail (or tomato can) down, unwind our meat cord that was attached to a good sturdy stick we had cut from a tree, place the hook on the end and then attach a dew - worm to the hook. We would cast the line into the water and begin what could be a couple of hours before we would get anything but a lot of bother from perch and sunfish.
Other locations we used to visit were along the Lindsay Street Bridge both above and below the locks, the old iron bridge north of the town limits, the Lindsay Knitters bank around the Rainbow Bridge only to mention a few good spots.
Occasionally I used to go out to Wes Montgomery's place up the Scugog near Cross Creeks. "Monty's Inn" was well known to fishermen as was the one-armed Wes Montgomery who could handle a canoe better with one arm than most men could with two. Wes was a very popular man and the fish stories that Monty would tell us were always fascinating, especially to we young fry. We would ask Wes where the "great catches" of the day were being made and he'd tell us. One could rent a boat from Monty for about 25 cents an hour or a couple of dollars for the day. When we'd return from our fishing trip Monty would be there awaiting our arrival and to have a look at our catch if we had anything to show.
I recall the late Fred Basset taking me fishing with him up at Monty's and we rented a row- boat for the morning. After rowing for a while, Fred decided that we had a good spot to wet our lines. After some 30 minutes and no fish, Fred suggested we move to another spot. Same thing, no bites and the clouds were beginning to move in overhead. It was obvious we had to head back or get soaking wet in the coming rain. Well, as Lady Luck wasn't with us that day the rain started pouring down on us and as Fred was rowing I had my line out trolling in hopes that I might be lucky. Finally Fred said, "might as well pull in your line John, you won't get any fish now". I asked him why and he replied, without a smile on his face, "Because the fish have more sense than we have, they've gone under the lilly-pad to get out of this rain".
Yes, fishing when you're a kid seems to be more adventurous and enjoyable than when you're older.