Thursday, May 24, 2012

Father & Son Fishin'

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"I think it's time,"  I said to my wife last week.  "Caleb is ready for his first fishing rod."  For a while now my son, Caleb, has been learning to use a reel and hold a rod.  I took an old reel that I don't use and gave it to Caleb to play with as a toy.  He's gotten pretty good at cranking that reel, but has had no clue what it's supposed to do.  I've also taken him numerous times to Bass Pro to the reel section, where he's tried out almost every reel - from the light spinning reels, to the baitcasters, to the saltwater conventionals.  The rod?  He just likes carrying big sticks and swinging them around - he'll be a natural bass fisherman.

My son's fishing rod.

So we took a family trip out to Bass Pro shops last Friday and bought him his first fishing rod - a 2 ft ice fishing rod and reel combo.  It is perfect for his little arms and hands.  He wanted to hold it in the car on the way home, and wanted to play with it before going to bed.  I couldn't wait to see how he would react with a fish on the other end of the line.

I have been fishing Lake Elkhorn lately with a co-worker during our lunch breaks, and on our last trip there, I could see that a bunch of sunfish were just hanging out by the docks.  I knew they would probably stick around, so I knew where I would take Caleb.

Saturday morning, we packed the car, Caleb's new rod, a bobber, some small hooks, and a pack of nightcrawlers I had leftover from my last trip.  I briefly thought about taking my ultralight rod with me to do some fishing myself, but resisted.  This trip was to be for the son, not for daddy.  So off we were, the family's first fishing trip.

When we got to the lake, Caleb immediately knew where to go.  It was as if he was instinctively drawn to the water.  We set up on the floating dock and I threw out the worm on the bobber for him.  He couldn't wait, and immediately wanted to reel it back in.  It took some time to teach him to wait for the bobber to go under...but I was glad to see that he was excited about it.  As a side note, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the 2 foot rod casted.  I was just using the line that came spooled on the reel, and it was decent.  I might have to get another one for myself. heh heh.

Caleb holding one of the fish we caught.
Well, after a few tries with the fish only stealing our night crawlers, mommy suggested we move to some place in the shade to stay cool.  So we relocated to the opposite side of the dock area and set up camp again.  This time I switched out the hook for a smaller one, and cast it out.  That turned out to be a good move, because within minutes Caleb had his first fish on!  It was a tiny 3" sunfish, and Caleb was happy to see it.  I tried to let him kiss it before releasing the fish, but my wife stopped us.  No love for that fish.

Caleb saying "bye" to the fish.

As we were fishing, another young boy came by and wanted to see the fish Caleb had caught.  He thought it was so cool, and wanted to stick around to see our next catch.  Well, within a couple minutes we had another fish on, but Caleb wasn't interested in reeling it in this time so I let the boy try reeling it in.  A 4" sunfish!  He had a blast, and was talking about how he would tell his dad about it when he got home.

We caught a few more sunfish, and each time Caleb would say in his gibberish "one more, one more". After a few more, we decided to head home.  My wife asked "Are you happy, Daddy?"  Yes I am!  My son's first fishing trip was a success, and he didn't get bored of it after just a couple minutes.  I can't wait for his next trip!

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