The boat and its three occupants seemed almost ghostlike, tucked tight to the shadowed east bank of the backwater slough, where a thin strip of gauzy mist was fast losing ground to the summer sunrise’s inevitable evaporative effects.
The two adults moved with easy, familiar purpose, readying fishing tackle as the third passenger, a youngster not quite 5 years old, chattered and laughed as he dipped a small net into a small ice chest, came out with a flapping collection of silvery shiners and distributed them to the adults who pinned them to gold Aberdeen hooks suspended 18 inches or so beneath orange corks.
They set about the morning, pitching the baited lines around cypress stumps or other cover where, usually within a few seconds, a cork would tremble, bobble, then disappear beneath the green water.
Bent rods ended up in the youngster’s hands. With wide eyes, wider grin, earnest wrestling with the spincast reel’s handle, and calm, careful instruction from the adults, he’d play the fish – goggle-eye, crappie, bluegills, small largemouth bass – to the boat and lift it aboard to congratulations followed by close examination of the catch.