A fishing story, grown larger in time
In the winter of 1967, my family made the move to the countryside in Aurora, Ohio. We ended up on a one-acre lot near the shore of a 300-acre lake, but there was a smaller pond called Naugle’s Lake down the road. My parents were much more comfortable with my brothers and me visiting there as opposed to the big lake.
That summer I asked my mom and dad if I could go fishing; I don’t know why. So they sent me down with my two siblings to see Mr. Naugle.
He stepped out of the side door wearing a white tank-top T-shirt and looked down at three kids holding bamboo poles with artificial lures attached to the line. “My parents sent me down here to see if you would let us fish in your pond,” I said meekly.
“You’ve got it all wrong,” he said, looking at our gear. He proceeded to tie on hooks, bobbers and even gave us some worms to use. He was gruff, but I got the feeling he liked us. Then Mr. Naugle walked us down to a special part of the lake where we caught countless big, fat bluegills.
I was 7, my brothers were 5, and I had discovered a new passion which would last a lifetime.
Over the years we saw a lot of Mr. Naugle. I used to catch huge green tadpoles for him from a muddy little pond behind my house. I’d proudly bring them to his house in a little white bucket as I knew he would be overjoyed. I could see the young boy in his eyes whenever I showed up with my bucket, and he’d soon head for the lake to use them for bait.
Those tadpoles gave me carte blanche to fish in his lake. As I got a little older, I discovered our initial fishing spot was where Mr. Naugle fed the fish.
About Doug Oster
Doug Oster is a staff writer and garden columnist for the Post-Gazette.
Phone: (412) 779-5861