Wednesday, June 12, 2024

RAKART - A Story of "Graduating" from Bobbers

I never get tired of warmwater art and Ryan Keene of RAK Art recently created these two pieces and posted a story on his social media that I thought would be fun to share.  Take a minute to enjoy this.

Ryan Keene wrote...

"Worms on hooks, bobbers carefully watched under hot skies.  Bologna sandwich laying in the grass and a metal cantina filled with spring water collected on the way to the pond.  We would spend a few minutes collecting the discarded Styrofoam containers from around the ground left behind by the previous fisherman.  I inspected each one to make sure they were empty.  We had spent the early evening last night after the rain, collecting night crawlers into a metal can, but you could never have enough. 

I was at the level now where I was prepping the hook and setting the bobber at the proper height and even snapping my own hook and line onto the swivel by myself.  I was kind of a pro at this by now and my stride over to my favorite little fishing spot telegraphed my skills.  I spent the first few hours setting hooks in small perch and sunfish of varying size when my dad approached me with his hands behind his back.  He sat down next to me, the bobber still in my periphery.  He showed me a lure still in the cardboard packaging, a Mepps Aglia.  It consisted of an angular brass body with a treble hook and a buck hair tail.  He went through the basics of fishing these and that I should try on the other side of the little inlet to get out of the weeds a little to make it easier on me.  He spoke about the importance of how fast to reel in the lure that it would change how the spinner would act under the water and how deep it would sink.  

I hung that thing up so many times on the bottom of the pond, the frustration was getting to be so much for me to contain.  I tried to keep my professional appearance to all the other “kids” who were still staring at their bobbers, but I wasn’t a lure pro.  I was still a worm pro fishing out of my lane.  I hung up on the bottom one last time and I sat down waiting for my dad to try and dislodge the spinner from whatever I had it snagged.  He couldn’t and when he brought out his buck knife I almost burst into tears as he slid the blade under the fishing line.  I sat there stunned knowing I had failed my first day as a real fisherman. 

My dad could feel how much weight I had on my shoulders, he was used to this as I never could take failure well.  I wasn’t in the mood to tie on another bobber so we packed up and instead of the normal Fleetwood Mac 8 track that we played all the time in the old Chevy, he turned the radio off and we talked.  We talked about how learning always included times of what I thought were failures.  He reminded me about learning to ride a bike, the road rashes, bruises, and damaged ego would lead to a skill I used every single day.  Fishing was just like that. 

I thought we were heading home but instead we stopped at the local bait shop and he had me pick out three new spinners and that we would go back to the pond and try again.  I picked another Mepps Aglia, and a Panther, and some other one that had an insect painted on the wooden body.  When we got back to the pond he stood with me and guided me through the techniques of casting something so light, and how to vary the speed of reeling it in and moving the rod up and down to imitate a darting bait fish.

For the next hour of tough training, I only hung up twice.  He sat back down, leaning on a tree, pipe in mouth, smoke swirling above his felt hat.  I started fishing on my own using all the skills he had taught me.  In about a half an hour something took my spinner and it was a lot different than the perch from earlier on in the day.  This was a lure fish, one of those big ones I saw on pictures hanging in the bait shop register wall.  My first was a Pumpkinseed, with its orange belly and almost neon like blue green rays flowing from the eyes down the body.  It was the size of my dads palm and I marveled at its beauty. 

That day would be the first of many teachings on the river, not just technique.  It went beyond what color fly to fish on a cloudy spring morning or what color Rapala to float across the mouths of a largemouth.  I have learned about my resilience, my eagerness to learn everything I could, patience, and to love the now no matter how frustrating or rewarding it can be."

Visit the RAK Art website and following along with the latest artwork on Facebook and Instagram.

Prints of both of these pieces are available (in two sizes) and can be found on the RAK Art website.

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