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Fishing For Squirrels


If you are a PETA member please do not read this story. If you are a PETA member and can’t follow directions please note:  No squirrels were harmed during this adventure.  

It all started when my brother-in-law, Art, came in for a visit with his family. Shortly after his arrival, I promptly put him to work on several small remodeling jobs around the house.  Art being an excellent cabinet maker, was surely nothing to let go to waste. I served as his gopher most of the time, doing odd jobs like keeping the beer cold and serving it promptly.  

I don’t remember who came up with the idea but I am going to blame Art because he is not here to defend himself. Anyway, it happened as we were taking a break on a couple of lawn chairs in the shade of the back yard. As a good gopher, I, of course, promptly supplied the beer.

As we sat there cooling off and refreshing ourselves, Art made a comment on our suburban wildlife. “You sure have a lot of squirrels around here,” he said, followed promptly with, “I bet it would be fun to catch one.”  

Well, we both sat there, pondering that statement, each dreaming up how we could go about catching a squirrel. And after racking our brains, about the only thing we could agree on was that we needed some bait and a humane trap. Eventually, Art (notice how I blame him again) suggested that maybe a fishing pole would do the trick. And so we began our expedition of fishing for squirrels.  

I dashed off to the garage to retrieve my  old Ugly stick, typically reserved for catching walleyes. What a piece of art, no pun intended. As I took the hook off the line I couldn’t help but admire the 6 foot graphite pole with a Diawa reel and my favorite 8 lb test line. Then I marched out of the garage and grabbed a bucket of corn to be used as our squirrel bait.

Next, we needed to find a suitable place to start fishing. We sat quietly, enjoying our liquid refreshments while monitoring the squirrel activity. Eventually we noticed that a pattern of activity had emerged. It seemed that the squirrels were most plentiful in a spot near the birdbath.   

Now to set the trap. We placed an ample amount of corn bait in a small circle near the birdbath. Then we carefully placed a loop of 8 lb test line around that, carrying the fishing pole back to our easy chairs with care before opening another beer. Art was assigned the duty of holding the fishing pole. He has better coordination than I do, plus it is hard to fish for squirrels and drink beer at the same time.  

A short time later, one of our bushy tailed friends wandered into the trap. I nudged Art awake, and pointed out the fact that he was about to get a bite. The squirrel stepped into the loop. Art snapped to attention and set the trap like a seasoned pro. What a catch! On his first attempt, Art had landed a 3 pound squirrel.  

Well, not really, but he did have the thing on the end of the line. The pole was bent in a mighty fashion, and I thought that my Ugly stick may have met its match when the squirrel made a dash for freedom. The line singed and the drag screamed as the squirrel took off towards the neighbor’s fence. But Art quickly adjusted the drag, bringing the squirrel to a stop right before an attempted leap for the fence.  

A slow retrieve brought our freshly caught squirrel within 20 feet of our make believe boat, a.k.a. our lawn chairs and beer cooler. Then the line began to sing again as our catch made another run for the fence. Luckily the ugly stick was up to the task, despite the zig zagging of our catch. All it took was a little more drag to bring him back under control.  

Like any good fisherman we practice “catch and release.” Besides, a flailing fish has nothing on a frantic squirrel. So while I held the pole, Art walked out the few remaining feet to the squirrel and cut the line. In my head, I was imagining Art walking on water, but then again, I did have quite a few beers in me.  

The squirrel froze upon his approach, looked up at Art with his beady little eyes, huffed, and made a mad, furry dash for the fence.  Free at last and gone in seconds. Another catch left free to grow and multiply.