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Shiny Silver Dollar

Blogged about fishing running through my veins earlier this week.  With Father’s Day last weekend, I got to thinking about fishing with my Gramps Roth and a story I want to write down. . . .

I have lots of memories of fishing with Gramps when I was a kid, he lived in Atkinson, Nebraska and spent a lot of time fishing, hunting and trapping in that beautiful part of our state.  I always looked forward to visiting Gramps, seemed like every time we did he had a story about some big pike he had been trying to out-smart on the Elkhorn River.  He was always catching frogs and feeding them to the pike.  Oftentimes, the pike would throw the hook and send the frogs back shredded.

Another of Gramp’s favorite fishing spots was Albright’s farm pond.  There are some beautiful farm ponds scattered throughout Nebraska, but when I was young, I was pretty sure that the farm pond Gramps fished was the best of them.  The bass and channel cats were huge, and the bluegills were not half bad.  Just make sure you checked for ticks when you got home.

Many times we would pull a seine through the Elkhorn River to get bait before we went fishing someplace.  I liked seining bait almost as much as I did the fishing.

I learned my hook-setting technique from Gramps.  Long before famous bass jocks told us to reel down and set the hook hard, especially when fishing some kind of weedless bait, my Gramps had instructed me to “jerk his eye-teeth out”.  I never knew fish had eye teeth, it was years later before I had any idea what “eye teeth” actually might be, but I have been setting the hook hard enough to jerk ’em out ever since.  I get accused of setting the hook too hard to this day.

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Jeff Kurrus photo, NEBRASKAland Magazine.

Gramps had to be the luckiest man in the world.  No, he did not always catch the most or the biggest fish, although he usually did very well.  The reason I say he was so lucky is he seemed to find a shiny, silver dollar on the bank every place we would fish.  Albright’s farm pond?  Shiny silver dollar.  The gravel pit off the Elkhorn River?  Shiny silver dollar.  Merritt Reservoir?  Shiny silver dollar.  I do not know how many times my cousin Robin or myself would be fishing near Gramps and he would look down, pick something up off the bank, and exclaim, “Well, looky there, a shiny silver dollar laying right here on the bank!”

Must have been a lot of holes in pants pockets back in those days?

Hey, wait a minute. . . . Maybe Gramps did that to send us off on a hunt for our own shiny, silver dollar laying on down the shoreline?

All I know is that he must have had a pocket full of silver dollars he had picked up from shorelines.

Or maybe he had just one?

To this day, if you are trailing my cousin or myself, you better make sure what we pick up is the real thing and not just one we “happened” to find.  That can be done easily with arrowheads; not so much with morels or asparagus.  Likewise, if you happen to find one behind us, one we appeared to miss, well, we might have left it there for you.

Learned it from Gramps.

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About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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