After days of rain, a sunny Saturday out on our pond with Debbie’s parents felt like a trip to our own private state park. Grass showed the pattern of recent mowing, which left it short enough to drive through the field to our picnic table. We set up a tent for shade, put the kayak and canoe on the water, caught a few bass and crappie, and walked about confirming our primary choice of building site.
Annelise shows off her first fish, a small Pomoxis annularis, or “white crappie.” This tasty fish lives all over the eastern part of the country. It derives its common name from the Canadian French word crapet, which refers to many different fishes of the sunfish family. People also refer to crappie as papermouths, strawberry bass, speckled bass or specks (especially in Michigan), speckled perch, calico bass (throughout New England), and Oswego bass. Fans of Dave Robicheaux novels have heard Dave and his buddy Clete Purcell talk about fishing for crappie many times, though they always use the Cajun term sac-au-lait (literally, “bag of milk,” referring to their creamy white flesh). By any name, they are fun to catch and great to eat.
All three of the kids got the hang of the kayak within about three strokes of the paddle. I remember the great sense of independence I had being on the water alone at that age. I learned a lot of useful lessons, too, like what to do when a snake drops from a limb into the boat. Thankfully, our kids haven’t experienced that learning opportunity yet.
Debbie and her mother showed off their hats out in the canoe.
Grandpa caught the most fish, drawing a crowd with this small largemouth bass.
Debbie took one last view from our primary building site before we packed up to head home.
No bites, stings, poison ivy, or sunburn, and lots of fun made for a good day. We plan to visit this park again.