Adventures in Fishing: Bring the Kids!

fishingIt was a sunny Monday afternoon like most others in the summer. Sunday, which is usually designated for my adventuring, had come and gone. Monday was here, my wife was out running errands, and I was in charge of my two boys for the afternoon. They played with toys in the playroom while I sat in the living room getting numbed by one news show after another. I started getting antsy.

Taking the kids fishing crossed my mind, but how? Where could I bring a 5 and a 3-year-old to fish safely? I stood up from the couch and began to pace. We couldn’t go to my salt water spots where a small child could fall off of the rocks, nor did I feel comfortable going in my little boat with a 3-year-old swinging hooks around. I needed something kid-friendly that offered shade. It was really hot out. I had just the right place in mind — a little spot in Lincoln Woods.

We set out with my adult fishing gear, my son’s Batman fishing pole and a shopping bag with two sandwiches and a bottle of Gatorade in it for all of us to share. Only the bare essentials for adventures with Dad.

We arrived at our spot just off of the main road in Lincoln Woods. The little shoreline blended smoothly into the water without much for a child to fall from. The surrounding trees made for a nice shelter from the sweltering sun. It was the perfect spot for safe fishing with the boys.

When we got there, I enlisted them to help me look for worms. Unfortunately for us, the dirt we were on was dry and sandy. There were no logs, rocks, or anything that is typically worm friendly. It was up to my artificial lures to bring success.

As usual, my set-up had an inline spinner on it, and Jack’s Batman pole was equipped with a green rubber grub and a split shot sinker. We settled in and started fishing.

After about a half hour of casting with no luck, the boys were getting fidgety. I needed to figure out how to catch something and fast. I noticed the scores of blue gill that would swarm my lure on most casts, but the inline spinner was too big for them to bite. I was growing frustrated and considered packing it in.

As I was packing up our gear, I noticed something pivotal to our day. There was some crust left over from the pb&j sandwiches I made for the boys. I remembered the fishing I did as a child, which mostly relied on Wonderbread for bait, and figured it was worth a try. I took the rubber grub off the hook and replaced it with a doughy ball of wheat bread. Still using the splitshot for weight, I tossed my rig out and received instant attention from the little blue gill. However, the hook was too big and the fish lost interest by the time it sank to the bottom. I switched to a smaller hook. Now that the heat was on, I was tying my hook on frantically. I put a ball of bread on, cast and once again, got instant attention from the little fish. Still, no hook-ups by the time my presentation hit the bottom. I needed to keep the bait suspended. I changed the sinker to a floating bobber. With each cast, I got attention. No takers though. Just when I was getting frustrated with the current set up, my son Eli yelled out, “I found a worm!”

I finished my retrieve and turned to see Jack and Eli crouched over a little earthworm crawling on the ground that I recently deemed wormless. I quickly hooked it up and cast. Within seconds, I caught a blue gill and the boys cheered with excitement. The worm was still on the hook so I threw it back out and handed the pole to Jack who quickly hooked up to one. I told him to keep reeling until the fish was on land and he did just that. Now it was Eli’s turn, but he didn’t care to try. He was just having fun watching us and was happy he found the worm. Good eye, Eli.

I decided to leave on a high note and pack up the few items we had while the day was still exciting. They were reluctant to leave until I enticed them a little.  My question, “Who wants an Awful Awful?” was immediately followed by a chorus of “Me! I do!”

And the kids have asked me to take them fishing almost every day since.

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