Angling for a catch: Memories, actions as much a part of fishing as the catch

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Despite being legally blind, Reginald Roberson could be found casting a line at the Capaha Park lagoon Tuesday, thanks to some assistance from eleven-year-old Tyquan Logan.

Cape Girardeau resident Patrick Zamudio reels in his line while fishing Rotary Lake for the first time Tuesday, May 22, 2018 in Jackson.

Roberson lost most of his vision due to a workplace injury in 2008. Recently separated from his wife and his home, the lagoon provided him with more than just a place to fish. The waters gave him a feeling of familiarity and peace.

Although the two had a significant age difference, each of the anglers needed the other -- Logan watched out for Roberson's lack of vision and Roberson made up for Logan's lack of fishing experience.

It was Roberson's first fishing trip in about two years, and one of only a handful for Logan.

"I'm kind of teaching him the ropes and everything -- the way I was taught when I grew up," Roberson said. "It's a reality check. You've got to check yourself, and you've got to teach the kids what you've learned. So that's what I'm trying to do; trying to keep the faith."

From left, 13-year-olds Keontae Dixon and Damarion Williams watch Kent Elder bait his hook with Max Richey while fishing at the Capaha Park lagoon in Cape Girardeau.

The 11-year-old angler still struggles to cast, but managed to catch a few fish using Roberson's secret "shake 'n' bake dough ball" recipe of balled bread soaked in water and tropical fish bait. Although initially hesitant to touch his hooked fish, by the end of the day Logan removed one from his line with help from Roberson.

Simple, yet significant moments like these between Roberson and Logan truly show the value many locals place on fishing.

Levi and Shane Jansen, 14 and 12, of Whitewater, dropped their lines at the kids-only fishing pond in Cape County Park North. Reserved for children ages 15 and under, the well-stocked waters help younger anglers find interest in fishing with more frequent bites and serving as the location for fishing events sponsored by the neighboring Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center.

Shane Jansen, 12, holds a recently caught catfish by the mouth before releasing it back into the kids-only fishing lake in Cape County Park North.

While his older brother Levi cast a spinner bait along the side of the pond, Shane Jansen put his faith in a jig he continually cast into reeds along the shore.

Shane's perseverance paid off with him hooking a catfish after about 30 minutes, which he immediately released back into the water.

Max Richey, 13, removes a recently caught bluegill from his hook at the Capaha Park lagoon in Cape Girardeau.

"I like fishing because it passes the time," Shane said. "I like fishing for bass the most, but I fish for catfish too."

In Jackson, John Strickland fondly recalled his early fishing memories from when he fashioned his own poles with only 15-20 feet of line and using a thimble for a reel.

Keontae Dixon, 13, dumps excess water from a container holding his catch from the day Tuesday at the Capaha Park lagoon in Cape Girardeau.

A veteran fisherman of more than 70 years, Strickland made the hobby look easy at Rotary Lake in Jackson by hooking two catfish within five minutes of one another as he quickly approached the lake's limit of four catfish.

With two poles going at a time and a tobacco pipe clenched between his teeth, Strickland's expression represented that of what many find in fishing -- a patient gaze focus on his line mixed with a timeless grin at any sign of action.

Tyquan Logan, 11, looks toward the lagoon as he baits his hook with balled bread at Capaha Park in Cape Girardeau.

Young or old, the timeless tradition of fishing continues to build anglers of all sorts in Cape County whether it be helping them mature or keeping them young.

With summer around the corner and hungry fish swimming in every lake, an opportunity to bond with nature is bobbing is every body of water -- all you have to do is cast the line.

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Reginald Roberson's special "shake 'n' bake" bait mix of balled bread and fish food sits on a bench at the Capaha Park lagoon in Cape Girardeau.
John Strickland of Jackson adds a recently caught catfish to his fishing stringer Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at Rotary Lake in Jackson.
John Strickland of Jackson tosses his fishing stringer back into Rotary Lake.
John Strickland of Jackson baits his hook with a worm at Rotary Lake.
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