When I read about the recent engagement of Polly Lynn and Jason Mikula, co-publishers of The Mountain Times, it brought back memories of my own connection between “true love” and fish! In case you missed the article, Polly and Jason got engaged on the banks of the Madison River in Cameron, Montana, while on a fly-fishing vacation.
My own engagement happened in the month of January back in 1975…no fishing in Vermont then unless it’s through the ice! However, fish definitely played a role in our relationship. In the summer of 1974 my future husband, Peter, introduced me to fishing at the Chittenden Reservoir. For those who knew me well, they probably thought the relationship would end right there.
I was hoping that fishing would go better than our first date, which was on a city tennis court. That experience led to an hour of apologizing to players on the court next to us. I kept hitting the ball over there.
So Peter probably figured he had nothing to lose by taking me out on the water. How much trouble could I cause anyone else while I was sitting in a boat?
I had a slight feeling of fear as I climbed into the boat, as I had never been in one. I also had never held a fishing pole or taken a fish off a hook. But most of us do “out of character” things in the early dating stages. It shows that we can be a flexible person. Now, if the truth be known, I am about as flexible as a piece of steel!
Back then I was also not an outdoors person. But, surprise, surprise…I loved fishing! Rainbows were plentiful in Chittenden back in the 70s, and that first tug on my line had me “hooked” as well as the fish! I was instructed to keep my pole tip up and reel at a steady pace. I did as I was told and a nice size rainbow was soon visible. Peter picked up the net, placed it under the fish and he (or she) plopped right in. As pleased as I was with my accomplishment I didn’t care for the jumping around the poor fish was doing in an attempt to get back in the water where it belonged! Peter said it was a good size for eating, so into the cooler it went. He spared me the cleaning process and I was okay with that, because after all, I had contributed to dinner!
The rest of the afternoon was spent with Peter as the “guide” and me as the fisherwoman. I caught my limit and he never caught a thing!
Over the course of the summer we visited about every pond and small lake in the Rutland area. Peter’s aluminum boat spent the summer on top of his car. It seemed easier that way and the shade it offered kept the car cooler. I spent the summer of 1974 being introduced to a whole new world–the “water world.” I had no idea that so many bodies of water existed this close to home.
As the summer progressed we headed either east or west in pursuit of “the big one.” When we headed east we ended up at places such as Kent Pond, Amherst Lake and Woodward Reservoir. I had never seen Kent in the summer, only covered with snow in the winter as I traversed it on a pair of x-c skis. Each season has its own charm. I was fascinated to hear that there was a nudist colony on Woodward but you couldn’t prove it by me! No sign of nudity as we trolled along.
Heading west, we tried our luck at Sunset and Glen Lake. Life was full of new adventures. Fortunately for our relationship I loved every minute of connecting with nature. Sunset seemed more civilized with quite a few camps, but Glen Lake seemed like the boonies to this city gal! But I was in good hands,” so I relaxed and enjoyed both fishing and hiking around Glen.
On the small ponds we often caught perch, much to the delight of my mother. It was one of her favorites. She loved reaping the benefits of my new hobby. Peter would clean the perch for her and dinner was ready to be cooked.
By the fall of 1975 we were married and headed to the Northeast Kingdom with a pop-up camper in tow. I had never been camping and that experience is material for a future column! I will say that the fishing was superb and my first salmon came from Caspian Lake in Greensboro.
I thought it would be fun to try fishing from shore. That experience went about as well as our tennis date. My hook kept getting caught in tree branches and guess who had to untangle them? Peter! It was back to the boat for me!
Over the years the open metal boat was replaced by a larger boat with a canopy for protection from sun and rain. That’s what happens when a wife enters the fishing scene–we do like our creature comforts.
I know from experience that fishing can hook two people together who are truly in love. Best wishes to Polly and Jason. Keep on fishing!