Monday, July 10, 2006

Fish Story 

Father's day the kids woke me up with a telescoping flyrod; yesterday, we gave elderchild Willow her birthday present early so she'd have her own pole, and the two of us headed out through the woods, just three houses down an overgrown path, to a greenspot where the stream hits the dam backwash.

And so we learned to cast, that shade moves with the sun, how a barbed hook works, and why. We ate crackers, shared an apple, and two tiny fish later -- the world's smallest largemouth and a four-inch sunfish, if you're keeping score -- we decided to call it a morning.

A nice afternoon on a shady summer riverbank, teaching patience, enjoying the day. So what if Willow's most memorable moment involved the dubious phrase Daddy, fishing is really boring, isn't it? According to my list of father-daughter goals, we're right on schedule.

posted by boyhowdy | 12:58 PM |

Fishing IS really boring, until you catch something, and then it's like 10 Christmases all at once.
...course, you rarely catch anything, do you?
My Okapis have started to get really interested in fishing somehow. I have only gone about a couple of times in my life. At what point do you start to get your kids into fishing? And how? if you have any suggestions I'd be happy to hear them.
Some good questions, JGS. Willow will be four this week, and this was her first time, but it's not like I've gone a bunch in her absence, either. Not being a serious fisherman myself, but being a cautious (and hopefully adventurous) Daddy, here's what I'd suggest:

Wait until they're mature enough to be able to keep clear of a hook on the end of a string. Then, get them a half-sized pole (ours unfortunately had Nemo on it or something), about as tall as them, but a real one -- nylon string, a push-botton release on the reel, etc. Usually you can get one at walmart -- ask for kids poles.

Then, go out with your pole and the kids with theirs. Put a real hook on yours, and let them watch you do it -- and talk about the barb, and show them. Let them fish with bait TIED on the line, while you fish with a real hook and lure -- that way they can practice, and IF you catch one, you can let them see how catch-and-release works, and touch the fish, and all that.

Use those red and white bobbers, so they can "see" what's happening and get a sense of the process.

After they seem comfortable, put a real hook on theirs, and cast it yourself, letting them take it once it is out on the water.

Bring snacks. Fishing involves much waiting, so snacks are good. So is breaking the activity down like I described -- makes it go farther on the first day.

At least, that's how I did it.

We made it over two hours. Not bad, I guess. And we're packing the rods and stuff for camping, since you never know when a stream will turn up...
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