Dave needed to pack for Saturday’s fishing trip. He went into his hall closet, where he had more than 20 rods and reels. Nowadays he went fishing twice a year at Big Bear, a huge lake in southern California about 7,000 feet up in the mountains.
California tries to boost the fishing industry by sponsoring a Free Fishing Day twice a year, once in June and once in September. That sufficed for Dave. He went mostly because it was a social event with a few friends, not so much to catch fish. Even by itself, the scenic drive up a twisty two-lane road was worth the trip. Not to mention the big, beautiful houses and trees that lined the shore of the lake.
Packing was a project in itself. Dave had even created a computer file named Fishing Trip. It was a checklist of 45 things to take to Big Bear. He took two rods, because on Free Fishing Day you were allowed to fish with two rods instead of the usual one rod. He took a hooded sweatshirt, jeans, two pair of socks, a heavy hooded denim jacket, winter gloves, and a scarf. He also took flip-flops, shorts, a T-shirt, #30 sun block, sunglasses, a big hat, and a lightweight raincoat. If you go to Big Bear in June, you’d better be prepared for hot or cold, rain or shine.
He packed a couple of magazines to read just in case the fish weren’t biting. He and his friends joked that the fish were always biting – in the spot you just left or the spot you were headed to.
After about an hour and a half, Dave had gathered all the items on his list into a neat pile next to his door. He went to bed knowing that tomorrow’s weather and fishing were unpredictable, but the good time with his friends was a given.