Dad’s Gonna Lose It
We live about 30 minutes from the Land Between the Lakes, which is a huge attraction for hunters and fishermen. We have, over the past year spent many days hiking trails there, playing in the water or just driving around looking at the scenery. This past Sunday we decided it was time to take our 3 year old on his first ever fishing trip before fall truly sets in and it gets too cold to drag him out there.
We threw the cooler, with drinks and a pack of hot dogs, in the car along with our respective poles and we were off! A great day of fun in the afternoon sun and teaching the little man to fish was just what this family needed. I would get to show off my finely honed man-skills; getting my line wet, building a fire to roast our dinner and be able to impart some of that knowledge to my young son.
We got to the lake and realized two things immediately: My son had did not care where we went so long as he got to open his fishing pole and my normal spot was much too dry to fish that day. After reassuring him that we were still going fishing we were able to coax him back into the car to look for a better spot.
A dock on the lake
Here we found a nice rocky beach where I could safely build a fire for dinner and a dock where we could sit and fish. Since shade would be hard to come by with the water being somewhat lower than normal at least out on the dock we could easily cast into the water. I got my pole and my wife’s set up while she opened his brand new Captain America fishing rod and reel while he literally jumped up and down on the dock in anticipation.
We thought, at first, we should just tie the practice weight that came with the pole on his line and let him get used to casting. This proved to be a brilliant idea as I got hit by that tiny red fish more times than I can count and I’m forever grateful that it did not have hooks in it. My wife showed him how to cast, then I showed him. Then I showed him again.
We cast out and reeled in for a couple hours with my wife’s bait mysteriously disappearing after every cast and mine never getting so much as a nibble. To that end I believe she was casting too hard and the combined effect of my son jumping on the dock and slapping his little red fish against the water every 5 seconds simply scared the fish away from me. This is my story, after all, and that’s how I’m going to tell it.
He thinks we’re just fishing…
We did make several catches that day though. It turns out that a 3 year old, on a wobbly floating dock, that wants to investigate everything around him is a bad idea. We caught him several times as he walked inches from the edge. While I’m sure there was a teachable moment hidden in there somewhere we didn’t have a change of clothes for him and I didn’t relish jumping in the already cold water to drag him back out.
All things considered it was a great family day. Despite not having any success with the actual fishing we got to spend the day together without technology getting in the way. We got to speak with our son and he with us. I got to actually talk to my wife about different things. Meanwhile I was able to show him a few skills that he may need some day and see his excitement as he learned them.
We spent a fine Sunday afternoon building memories and bringing our family closer together. And he thinks we’re just fishing…
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