We heard rumors of a local nautical swap meet near the town cemetery on Saturday, so we headed over to see what we could find. And the best thing there turned out to be Vonn, a local fisherman who was selling an array of used fishing rods and gear.
Ryan and I have been threatening to learn to fish for years, knowing how useful it would be to catch our own food while cruising. Only we’ve never had the guts to throw a line in the water – probably out of fear of actually catching something.
But Vonn turned out to be just the man we needed – he was incredibly patient and chatty, and didn’t mind at all that we knew nothing about fish, fishing rods, or how to get started. In fact, he seemed to get a kick out of taking us under his wing, explaining the difference between trawling and bottom fishing, how to tie fishing line to lures, what kind of lures work on what kind of fish, and showing us how to work a rod.
In the end, Vonn set us up with a trawling rod, which we can also use to bottom fish, for $35, and talked us through our new equipment. And though we thought we’d exhausted Vonn’s patience, he wasn’t going to just let us go there – he came back to see us the next day and bring us some lures he’d picked out from his collection, refusing any money and saying all he wanted was for us to send him a picture of our first catch. Which of course we promised to do.
It turned out Vonn once dreamed of sailing to the Caribbean on a 41′ Columbia sailboat that slipped through his fingers when it was sold to another buyer before he could close the deal. He told me that he ended up staying in St. Marys and made good money in property investment. But he always wondered in the back of his mind what might have happened if he’d bought that boat.
So, I think Vonn may have wanted to live vicariously through us for just a little while, and we were more than happy to let him do just that. The challenge now is to go catch a fish and make Vonn proud.