Bill’s Limit

No tale of summer is complete without its fish stories, and over two generations at the cottage tall tales abound. My Dad is really the story teller of our family and when I remember these stories I picture him telling them and I hope that I can do them justice.


One warm summer day with a comfortable breeze coming off the lake Kenny and Tom  were finishing the roof on the new screened in porch. Bill, either being too young to help with the construction, or too clever to volunteer, decided to go fishing. He grabbed his pole and tackle box and clambered into the old metal row boat. He slid the oarlocks in place, pushed off the dock, and rowed out toward the point. The point is visible from the front yard of the cottage, and certainly from the vantage point of the porch roof, so Kenny and Tom could still see him, and hear him if need be.

The two builders toiled away with melting tar and scratchy shingles, beginning to sweat as the day heated up. Both heads shot up when they heard Bill shout. They squinted in the sunlight to get a better look at the bass that Bill was holding up. Tom waved in acknowledgment and then returned to work; after all it wasn’t that big of a surprise that Bill caught something.

Another row of shingles went down and there was another shout. Tom looked again to see Bill holding up another bass, certainly feeling a bit disappointed by this time that he was stuck on the roof instead of out in the boat. Then it was back to work. Barely a handful of moments passed and there was a third shout, then a fourth, and finally Bill yelled across the lake, “What’s the limit on bass?”. He’d netted five, which was the limit, so he happily rowed to shore to clean his catch. Tom and Kenny climbed down off the roof and Tom moved to help Bill, until Kenny calmly informed the boys that bass season didn’t start for another week. Bill’s face must have fallen as he turned with sagging shoulders to return his tiny school to the water. Perhaps Tom’s brightened, thinking they would just be that much bigger tomorrow.





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