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A Little Fishtory from Northern Country

This story is based on a true incident involving two of my uncles in a fishing boat in rural Mora, Minnesota.

A Little Fishtory from Northern Country
By Dan Eumurian

Once upon a time there was a super gigantic granddaddy Northern pike, and five little Northerns. There were also two big old hungry fishermen—a Finn and a Swede, the most dangerous kind.

The big fish knew a lot about Finns and Swedes, as well as rods and reels, bass boats, hooks and nets. He also loved his freedom to swim, jump, play and eat. The little Northerns tended to take those freedoms for granted, while not taking seriously the grownup fishes’ carping about bait, barbs and boiling Minnesota butter.

The piscatory patriarch regularly tried to teach the young fish about the world. He usually communicated through other fish, or tried to get his junior jumpers to read the “en-pike-lopedia.” But sometimes he whispered to them as they were falling asleep in their weed beds. There were problems with these methods, since the other fish teachers were not as great or good as the gilled grandpa, and often let their own actions and ideas messup the message. As for whispering, little Northerns sometimes seem to have a hard time paying attention.

The North European nabbers, however, knew how to get the lively leapers’ attention. They had big hooks, little hooks, triple hooks, anti-weed hooks, spoons, spinners, and all kinds of bait. They knew that piscine pouncers especially liked tasty, lively little “sinnows.” Unfortunately, inside each “sinnow” was a sharp, strong, barbed bit of steel attached to a strong line with the awesome appetite of an angler at the other end.

Those anglers really knew how to fish Northerns One after another, those five fin flippers went for the bait, and soon each one had a stringer running through a gill, out its mouth, and under the rear end of a fishing farmer. They were wearing themselves out by thrashing around, which didn’t really heop at all, and were starting to see visions of pliers, filet knives, frying pans and hard Scandinavian teeth.

The great Northern was heartbroken. Despite what the little fish thought of him, he really did know a lot about the world, and he had a very tender heart inside his muscular body. In fact, he cared so much that he determined to do a very strange thing. He would let himself be caught.

Those Scandahoovian fishermen had a few smarts. They not only knew how to bait a mean hook—they knew what to do when a lunker made a strike, and they knew this was a lunker. They pulled out all the stops. They used every trick in the book. They jerked and pulled and reeled in line and played out line. The big fish gave thema Minnesota workout, running all over the lake, up and down, in and out. Closer and closer he came to the boat. The big Swede chuckled as he thought about how he would show off the trophy fish that night, and tell his grandchildren the story someday. He picked up the net, got it under the giant fish to help haul the prize into the boat—and stood up.

The mighty Northern lay quietly in the net as the seconds dragged on. Then, just as he had planned, five small, subdued Northern Pike swam out from under the boat and looked at him with different eyes than ever before. They approached their leader with sadness, fear and wonder.

The powerful commander looked back into each set of eyes. Counting once more, even as the flimsy net pulled him upward, he seemed to laugh, “Hey kids, I’ll be right back. Let’s go swimming!”

© 2017, Dan Eumurian. Used by permission.

© 2017 all rights reserved - Dan Eumurian