Fishing is fishing: Will gas prices keep you angling closer to home this summer?

Gretchen Steele May We Never Forget The Fun Of A Farm Pond Full Of Bluegill

As I sat at the stop sign staring in disbelief at the gas station marquee’s gas prices, I inwardly groaned. We are essentially a retired household on a pretty tight fixed-income budget. Luckily, we don’t live very far from the Kaskaskia River.

One of the greatest joys that my hard-working husband has now that he is retired is spending nearly every day on the river. The old coot lives for his time on the river. Whether he’s running trotlines, bowfishing, pole and line fishing, helping his friends with their nets, or just floating around listening to the radio. I am highly suspicious that he spends many of these “fishing trips” just roaming aimlessly around the river and solving the world’s problems with one of his retired old coot friends.

Yee gads, I thought to myself as I calculated the cost of the gas for the boat, dragging the big heavy flat bottomed bowfishing boat with that old V8 Dodge. Suddenly I could see myself living on cat food. I didn’t want to think about what those everyday trips to the river would cost us this spring.

So, in an effort to keep us in coffee, beer, and boat snacks and still afford his time on the water, We had “The Discussion.”

The discussion was simple. Like it or not, you old coot – you aren’t going to the river every day this year. Not until these gas prices come down a bit. I’m not selling a kidney so you can float around the backwaters of the Kaskaskia, piddling around every single day.

My alternate plan? Go back to basics. Back when we were young and broke, and the best we had was a ratty little plastic bass baby boat, a trolling motor, and some paddles, we did fine. We knew every inch of the small ponds and local municipal lakes around us. We were perfectly content to visit a neighbor’s farm pond with a can of worms, a picnic supper, and a pair of lawn chairs.

Fishing is fishing. Whether we find outdoor spots close by or a hundred miles away, fun-filled outdoor spaces are the same. The things we loved about them when we were young and broke are still there now that we are essentially old and broke.

I think all of us who love traveling and spending time on the water are having to take a long hard look at what we have grown accustomed to doing. This year will be the spring and summer that we take a bit of a pause and rediscover what drew us to our love of the outdoors in the first place.

We didn’t start by traveling hundreds  (or even thousands) of miles to explore, hike, fish, and hunt. We started close to home in a park or a nearby piece of public land that held nothing but beautiful things. We puddled around our neighbor’s woods and farm ponds.

It’s time to look around our neighborhood with fresh eyes and hunt down those spots where we developed our love of the outdoors.

As for me, I’m scrubbing that old bass buddy baby boat, charging the batteries, and checking with my neighbors to see if it’s still okay to chase spawning bluegills in their ponds. What about you?

Categories: — — Illinois – Gretchen Steele, Blog Content

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