Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 03.21.03
Quebec City


Waiting to fish

It's that time of year again -- a time I await with a certain amount of impatience, a certain anticipation.

No, it's not Spring. Although that would be nice in itself. It's not the inevitable flowering of the land. Nothing so poetic.

It's the opening of fishing season.

Now, I can almost hear the dials being spun, the radios being turned off. To the uninitiated, it's difficult to explain.

I have been a life-long devotee of angling.

Ever since my father took myself and my brothers on our first fishing expedition I've been, shall we say, hooked.

I was about six years-old at the time. And we had to walk a couple of miles along the shore of Lake Ontario to a place called Fifteen Mile Creek.

It was barely a stream, running into the lake in not much more than a trickle. But it had what my father knew was the essential element of success.

It was full of sunfish and rock bass.

Sunfish, you see, are the piranha of fresh-water fish. They're seldom longer than about five inches, they'll eat just about anything, and they're ready to feed twenty-four hours a day.

In short, a juvenile fisherman's delight.

That's because kids don't really care about size or quality. What they want is to catch a lot of fish.

And we did.

I don't think my father ever actually fished himself.

When he wasn't busy showing one of us how to bait his hook, he was busy with another trying to get a fish off the hook.

Half the time, I managed to get the wriggling, fighting, sunfish completely wrapped around the line and the line wrapped around me.

Part of the fun was lunch.

We'd build a small fire on the beach and cook some beans right in the can.

We'd stick wieners on the end of sticks and roast them as well.

This wasn't necessarily a smart idea. As the youngest, I got the first wiener.

While waiting for my beans, the wiener promptly rolled of my plate onto the sand. My father took that one.

The second wiener followed the first. This time my older brother ended up with the gritty hot dog.

I was smart enough not to drop number three.

When we'd exhausted all our worms we found that sunfish will just as happily bite on beans, or rolled up bits of bread -- even sandy wieners.

My father always gave out prizes as well.

There was one for the largest fish, the most fish, the smallest fish, any fish with blue eyes, etc.

We all got a prize.

At the end of the day we wandered home along the shore as content as any children could ever be.

And the feeling stuck.

So here I am, fifty years later, waiting for fishing season to open.