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Jeremiah Tompkins caught this big fish in 2013

Big Fish, Big Smiles, Small Town Life

COARSEGOLD – You get up, you go to work. Pay some bills, maybe have not such a great day, but you get the job done and you’re ready to do it again tomorrow. You hop in the truck, grabbing your poles and pick your daughter up from dance class. Turns out, your day is about to get better.

That’s how life works for so many of us here in the foothills we so love, even as fires seem to pop out of nowhere in a dry-weather season that’s been unreasonably busy so far.For Coarsegold resident Jeremiah Tompkins, this was the scenario on Monday.

“I had a rough day at work. My wife had just dropped my daughter off at dance and was busy making dinner so I threw our fishing poles into the jeep, picked up my daughter Trinity and asked if we could go fishing on the way home.”

Trinity said, “That sounds great,” which is no surprise, since Trinity has a good record catching fish.

Jeremiah Tompkins and the big catch and release fish - Photo courtesy Jeremiah TomkinsWith fires raging all around and ash falling from the sky, the determined father-daughter duo set off for a private pond in Coarsegold and were just picking up little fish when suddenly, Jeremiah got lucky. He pulled a big bass out of the pond and held it up for his little girl.

“Wow, that’s big,” Trinity agreed, “It might be as big as mine last year.”

Trinity Tompkins trumps her dad - Photo courtesy Jeremiah TompkinsOne summer ago, when she was 9, Trinity pulled a huge fish out of a private pond in Oakhurst, a bigger fish than the one Dad had caught and was preparing to release.

On Monday, says Tompkins of his large bass, “We had fun taking a few photos. We catch and release, and it was hooked well, so I cut the hook, removed it and returned the fish to the pond. He will live to fight another day.”

Arguably the best thing about living in the mountains is that nature surrounds you, embraces you and holds you close to the earth – often at just the times we need it most. It’s a joy to live here where we have the ability to shake off the rigors and annoyances of our day, grab our kids and hit the lake, the trail, the river or the ponds.

“We are blessed to live here,” says Tompkins. We agree. Pretty sure that big fish feels the same way now that he’s been released to swim around again.

Just a warning to the local bass: Trinity Tompkins has got your number.

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