I remember my first fishing pole well. It was just like my second, third, and fourth – a sturdy sapling about 5 feet long that had just a bit of spring to it.

We lived along the river bank all summer long when I was a boy. Mom and Dad had real fishing gear but we kids had to make do with our sapling fishing poles.

We would tie a piece of fishing line with a hook on the end of our poles and slip a bobber on the line about 18 inches above the hook. Then we would thread a fat night crawler on the hook and drop our line in the water.

We caught the night crawlers the night before crawling around on the damp grass in the backyard with a flashlight. Sometimes we would catch crickets too, but I never had much luck catching fish with crickets.

We never saved our sapling fishing poles when we were done for the day because it was easy to just cut new ones the next time we went fishing.

I felt like a real fisherman when I got my first bamboo cane pole. With one of those 10 foot long shiny blond poles you could swing your line halfway across the creak.

Later, I graduated to a cane pole that came in two pieces, which brings me to my favorite fish story.

That summer day when we hiked along the railroad tracks to Gambier and back (last week