Childhood Years

My dad taught me how to fish. He would bait my hook and help me cast out. No matter how many times my reel back lashed he continued to work with me. If I got a bite, he taught me how to wait until just the right moment, pull back to set the hook and land the fish. Dad would take the fish off the hook. I hated trying to hold on to the fish, avoid getting stuck by a fin, and work the hook out.

Dad had a fishing partner, Doc Kuhn. They took me with them to Memphis Lake in Nebraska. The fish were biting furiously; therefore, he spent a good portion of his time taking my fish off the hook. The time came when I was required to learn how to do it myself. Mom still did the cooking.

Fishing the Blue River

On one family outing to the dam on the Blue River just north of Milford, Nebraska, Mom, Joe and I were fishing off the wall by the dam and Dad had gone on down the river to wade along the bank. i dropped my line into the churning water about 10 feet below. Soon it occurred to me to ask dad, "What do I do if a fish pulls on my line?" Simple answer from Dad, "Pull back and set the hook." Next question, "Could a fish pull me off the wall?" Dad laughed As fate would have it a fish took off with my line, I screamed and pulled because I thought for sure that fish was going to pull me into the churning water below. Of course, Dad thought I had a whale and came running. He coached me to fight the fish and finally land a nice sized catfish.

On one fishing trip, I talked Mom and Dad into taking our dog, Moochie. She was a mixed breed with some Water Spaniel. As soon as I let her out of the car, she took off for the river and jumped in. I screamed, mom yelled, Dad went to coach the dog back out of the river. The river wasn't running swiftly and, luckily, Moochie was a great swimmer. She came out of the water soaking wet and filthy. Moochie never got to go with us again.

In later years, many of the dams along the Blue River were destroyed.