| 10/25/2017 1:33:00 PM

Mel BooneIt's been a while since I've been fishing. I was reminded of that on Sunday when my stepdad had his 71st birthday. It had dawned on him that here in Missouri, he no longer needs a fishing license because of his age. It'll be a long while before I get to that point, but it reminded me that it's been a few years since I've gotten a fishing license, much less held a fishing pole in my hand.

I remember my first fishing pole that my grandfather gave me. It was just a long bamboo stick with a line and lure on it, no reel. It was the only pole that I've ever had. It has long since disappeared, but I caught many a catfish out of his pond with it.

The last time that I fished in that pond on the farm I was probably in my early 20s. I used a rod and reel that I borrowed from my stepdad. We caught quite a mess of catfish that day, plus one snapping turtle. I was glad to be rid of the snapping turtle! As for the fish, we had more than what we could eat, so we shared our catch with one of my stepdad's friends.

Grandpa, the friend, and the pond are long since gone. I cherish the memories, though. One more memory of the pond had nothing to do with fishing. Grandpa used to buy bags of fish food and take some to feed the channel catfish that he had stocked his pond with. We would bring two large metal Folgers coffee cans with us and a stick. On can had the fish food in it, the other can would be empty. The empty can would be put partially in the water and hit with the stick. After a few seconds, I would get to throw the food into the water.

I loved watching the fish come to the surface to feed. That was entertainment that my iPod just can't replace.

Photo by Getty Images/Terri Rosa Fox

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