A perfect day with my son

By Len Stagoski

Judy and I are senior citizens heeding health care professionals’ advice during the coronavirus crisis: we are exercising self-imposed confinement. What to do?  

I started to watch my fishing camcorder videos and digital photos… came across some photos reminding me of a perfect day with my son.  

So, why not turn this into an article for my friend, Jimmy Sexton!

Son Michael loves float fishing almost as much as I do. 

“Dad, we’ve got to get in a float,” I heard him say more than a couple of times a few summers ago.

On relatively short notice he said, “How about this coming Monday?” 

“That works for me,” was my response. 

So on a sunny Monday morn, we rented a canoe from Garrison’s River Resort, near Salem, and we did the Meramec River float from Bird’s Nest to Garrison’s. 

What a great day it turned out to be! A wonderful fishing experience I just had to share with my fishing buddies who value Ozark angling and reading the River Hills Traveler. 

Action in the morning was slow, only a few fish went after what we offered. Our usual spot of shaded gravel for a lunch break was already taken by two other fishermen, but a little further downstream we found a scenic gravel bar with a high bluff just across the river. 

Afternoon fishing was one of the most enjoyable I’ve ever had on an Ozark stream. Mike guided us the whole trip. 

About 45 minutes into our float, after lunch, we came to an ideal bluff hole with moving water and smallish boulders. I tied on a twin-tailed dark green grub, number one hook and small bullet 1/8 sinker.

Second cast… very light tug on the line… line started to move slowly sideways… patience, I reminded myself. Then a stronger tug on the line and I set the hook and lessened the tension on the drag.

“Oh, Mike, this is a good fish,” I said. 

And it was! Holding my rod with one hand, I fumbled under my seat with the other to open my waterproof camera box and handed the camcorder to Mike to get the resulting action on video. 

What a gallant fight! Shortly after I set the hook, he broke water with quite a splash… followed by a run for deep water, then to the top again with another jump.  

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Could have played him longer, but that would mean more stress on the fish. 

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