NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH – Often in life, the most splendid memories are at times you expect. A marriage, a birth, a special vacation, a happening that is on the calendar circled in advance for weeks, months, or years. On the other hand, sometimes a wonderful memory unfolds when you least expect it, on the most mundane of days. That is exactly what happened recently, and this post will document it so that I can always recall it vividly.
Amidst this COVID-19 pandemic, the family was eager for any time getting out of the house, even if it simply meant fishing in the backyard pond. Being ‘cooped up’ so long, actually caused my daughter (who currently is going through a very ‘girly’ stage) to want to fish. I was thrilled. Additionally, her strong willed independent nature had her telling me she didn’t want any help. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing… unlike most pre-pandemic situations where I am having to bribe or coax her into fishing, she wanted to do it and on her own. This was a fishing milestone.
I was allowed to bait her hook, and give a little casting instruction. After that it was just “Dad, let me do it”. She even moved down from me, wanting sufficient distance to not deal with my constant attempts at ‘coaching’. As fate would have it, about 15 minutes into her solo fishing, I heard some splashing and saw she was hooked up. I expected her first catch to be one of the more plentiful Bluegill, but instead was pleasantly surprised to see a small Largemouth Bass jumping out of the water. The pre-spooled Barbie rod had heavy enough line for a much larger fish, so she was able to easily reel it in. In fact, she reeled it right out of the water and across the grass until the bobber got stuck on the last eyelet of the rod. Anyone who has fished with kids knows this is not uncommon, I just loved the eager reeling to make sure she got it in. She was super excited and so was I, high-fives were exchanged, and after she was assured it had no large teeth, she was even willing to lip it. After the quick photo session, the catch was completed by her releasing it back into the pond.
Anyone who follows this blog or knows me, is aware my son is usually my fishing sidekick. He showed great maturity allowing Alexis the spotlight and even helped me by doting over her catch too. I’m certain her sense of accomplishment and fun were heightened knowing not only dad was impressed, but also her brother. As she continued to make catches, Bryce worked his way down to the opposite end of the pond after celebrating her first catch. In what surely was a bit of sibling rivalry, I watched Bryce fishing with a lot more rigor and intensity than usual. He was rewarded with plenty of catches, including a really awesome looking hybrid Pumpkinseed. The largest of the species that we have ever caught.
Most of the evening I was resigned to unhooking fish and retying lines, but I did manage to get a single rod out for bottom fishing. This was the best I could do to get a little fishing in myself. After missing one fish because of those aforementioned duties, I was a bit more alert to the next bite, and caught a decent sized Bullhead. Being the pillar of maturity for the family, I made sure the kids knew I had caught the largest fish. My fun loving arrogance ended up backfiring, when they both reminded me I only caught “one” fish!
I’ve done other posts like this, not an exotic location, no trophy fish, just highlighting the simple joy and fun of fishing. I also believe these fishing ‘moments of accomplishment’ have a profound positive effect on kids that is more far reaching than just recreation. In my daughter’s case, a new 6 year old, with a bit more confidence with whatever comes her way.
I hope she continues to join her brother and dad fishing. In time, she will realize sometimes it is all about the fish, but every time it is always about so much more than that!