Editor’s note: This column was originally published on July 16, 2009.
Fishing with your kids — it’s a magic combination, like Kwikfish and a herring wrap, right?
Um, can I plead the Fifth on that one?
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, and I enjoy guiding them as they explore the world around them.
But taking them fishing, so far, has not been the relaxing, rewarding experience it’s cracked up to be.
I have grand visions for fishing with my kids, catching a nice stringer full of rainbows and cooking them over a campfire.
Perhaps I’m aiming too high.
I’ve taken my son, who is now 8, fishing on a number occasions. He has yet to encounter a body of water into which he hasn’t fallen — or at least flooded his boots or waders.
My daughter, who is 6, started a year or so ago with her Disney princess fishing rod. She has yet to fall in — her coordination is a little better than her brother’s at that age — but I’m pretty sure it will be just a matter of time before she puts an eye out, most likely mine, and it will be as I’m patiently trying to get the gear loaded into the car, nowhere near the water.
Looking back, I’m amazed that my first fishing experience ever happened. Our family was vacationing on a lake somewhere in Maine. I must have been 7 or 8. My grandfather bought us our first fishing rods, rented a small boat, and took me and my three siblings out on the lake.
When I think about it now, I have to laugh. My grandfather was not a patient person, yet there he was, sitting in the middle of a lake with a boatload of very young children. What’s more, no one got hurt, and we even caught fish — quite a few bass, as I recall.
The one thing he insisted on was that we all be quiet, so we wouldn’t scare all the fish away. We’ve had a lot of good laughs about that one over the years. I don’t think Granddad was worried about scaring the fish as much as he just really wanted us to be quiet.
I don’t think I’ll ever get my kids to be that quiet. My son is constantly hollering about whatever object he’s gotten snagged on, while my daughter gives a running commentary on everything — the canoe, her paddle, the water, the sky, the bugs, the lilly pads, and on and on ...
Our fishing excursions are getting better. We recently spent some time paddling around Johnson Lake. We didn’t catch anything — my fault, I really didn’t have the right tackle — but I never worried about anything other than a mosquito piercing my skin, the canoe stayed upright for the entire time we were on the water, and we even saw some pretty neat things, including a loon that surfaced from a dive within 10 feet of us.
It was the first time in a long time that my daughter’s been left speechless.
I wonder what she’ll do if we ever actually catch a fish.
Will Morrow is the editor at the Peninsula Clarion.
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