By Lesley Thompson
“Look, Mommy, I found your fish!” exclaimed my 6-year-old daughter, Sophie. I looked in her direction to see several sticks floating in the water. Her giggles echoed across the cove. Minutes before, I had cast out my line from the bank near East Cove Beach and, with the romantic hope of a weathered fisherman, had dreamed about reeling in the “big one.” With a fishing pole in my hand, I planned to watch the sun lazily set beyond the treetops as I waited patiently to catch my first largemouth bass. Instead, to my left, there were sticks and rocks being thrown into the water. To my right, my husband was furiously making waves from laps on his paddleboard. This, I thought to myself, will never work.
East Cove Beach on Eastman Lake was one of the primary factors in our decision to buy in Eastman. Located right off Road Round the Lake, the beach is easily accessible from any of the 44 properties within East Cove. The private sandy beach offers plenty of space to spread out a blanket on a warm, summer day and is the perfect spot to launch a kayak. Although golfing and cross-country skiing attract many residents to our four-season community, it was the lure (no pun intended) of the pristine, 345-acre Eastman Lake that pulled us into the community. With an average depth of 10 feet, many anglers successfully challenge the small and largemouth bass population within these shallow waters. Specifically, East Cove Beach presents the perfect fishing environment to catch a largemouth bass. Naturally shaped into a dogleg, the shoreline creates a safe haven for fish to rest.
An adaptable and agile fish, largemouth bass can thrive in any water that is between 30 and 90 degrees. They are also considered by some researchers to be the most intelligent fish out of the almost 28,000 known fish species. And according to the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, largemouth bass are considered easy to catch. I, unfortunately, had been outsmarted every time. That is…until this time.
Just as I was about to give up and begin reeling my line back in, a palpable force like no other hit my line with such strength that I yelped in excitement. Largemouth bass are known for the explosive force they exude when they catch a lure. “This is it, this is it!” I screamed to my husband, beckoning him to come closer. I carefully began to bring my catch to shore, and with a few feet to go, I caught my first glimpse of a largemouth bass. Its emerald green scales glistened in the water like a bouquet of Irish shamrocks. The fins flipped and sliced through the water as it got closer and closer to me. I kneeled down and raised it up long enough for my husband to snap a picture before I removed my hook and let it go.
The entire interaction of hooking the fish to releasing it back into Eastman Lake took less than two minutes, but the overall experience will have a lasting impact. Henry David Thoreau wrote, “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” I realized that it wasn’t just the fish that made the moment so meaningful, but it was the entire chain of events that brought me to that moment. After 15-plus years of relentless renting, we are homeowners in this very special community known as Eastman and in this very special place known as East Cove.