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Go Fish, The And Now


By:  August Austin, 9th Grade

In 175 years there have been a lot of changes with fishing in Ortonville, but there are a lot of similarities too.

Let’s start with the differences. Today, I have a carbon fiber rod that can break into three pieces for easy carrying and traveling. It has a flip bail spinning reel with braided line. I have a full tackle box full of all different choices; hula poppers, spinners, swimbaits, spoons and more! Some of them have shiny colors and reflective finishes. I can also head up to the grocery store or gas station to get a container of rightcrawlers. I keep all of these things in a state-of-the-art fishing backpack that I wear when I ride my bike from lake to lake.

If I ever need to know the weather when I’m about to go fishing, I grab my phone and check the weather app to see what the weather is for the day and for the next 7 days. When I catch fish, I use that same phone to take a picture and then immediately send it to all of my friends and social media. I can also make a quick phone call to my mom or dad so that they can pick me up from the lake.

To protect myself from the sun and heat, I put sunscreen on and also wear my long sleeve sun guard fishing shirt. I usually grab a bottle of water or two from the refrigerator as I’m walking out the door. When I catch fish that I want to keep, I can toss them in a cooler filled with ice to save for later.

A 14-year-old kid in 1848 would have a completely different fishing experience compared to mine.

In 1848, people were most likely fishing with wooden fly fishing rods. These were long wooden rods with a basic reel that had to be cast to look like bugs flying and landing in the river. If they were reel casting, they would have to find bait nearby, under rocks or by digging a hole in the ground. If they were really skilled, they would have to use wool and threads to tie flies into realistic looking bug shapes.

The weather was usually a guessing game in 1848. There was no way of telling what the forecast was. They would have to use clues like wind patterns and the rustling of leaves, sometimes how the animals would behave.

Protecting yourself from the sun back in 1848 was not that easy; you needed to wear over dressed clothes with hats or scarves, even if it was hot out. If you caught fish that you wanted to keep you would have to hurry home and clean it before it rotted.

The differences in fishing 175 years ago do not compare to the similarities.

My house is along the Kearsley Creek. Today I can walk down the same shore that Amos Orton stood on in 1848. One of the best things about Ortonville is that I get to enjoy the same sounds, smells, animals, fish and birds that lived here 175 years ago.

The things that you can’t see and touch are exactly the same that they were in 1848; standing alone on the shore, casting your line and patiently waiting. The best part is the moment when it hits your line and you get to reel in a big fish. 

In 175 years there have been a lot of changes with fishing in Ortonville, but there are a lot of similarities too. 

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