A daughter’s first fish

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!

 

 

Memorial Day on the Sandusky River

CWF05302016drumFather & son, with one of many large fish

FREMONT, OH – While the girls went shopping and played at home, the boys headed to the river.  As Bryce and I made the hour drive to the grandparent’s house, it was very special to be able to explain what Memorial Day was about.  He grasped the main components of the holiday, and was waving an American Flag at any vehicle we passed.  This day was destined to be awesome.

Arriving to the river, we eagerly got lines in the water.  One set up for still fishing with nothing more than a worm suspended under a bobber, and the other I went about casting lures.  It didn’t take long and I had a nice big Freshwater Drum hit my inline spinner.  While Bryce and I took turns between reeling in the fish and manning the net to get the fish landed, I heard a loud splash.  A fish had pulled the other rod into the water.  There wasn’t anything I could do about the lost rod, so we just did our photo session with the drum (pictured above) before sending it back to the water.

CWF05302016pumpkinA handsome Pumpkinseed was one of many species encountered

After the big drum we continued to catch fish, namely a few Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, and Channel Catfish.  I’m not sure who was more excited, father or son, to be catching so many fish and multi species variety.  As if we weren’t having enough fun, we started seeing the bobber surface from the rod that had gone into the water!  I grabbed a canoe, and kept paddling to where the bobber had come up, only to have it go back under and surface 10 to 20 feet away again.  Bryce thought this was very funny.  Finally, I got close enough to the bobber to slip the paddle under it and get ahold of the line.  The rod end of the line was unable to be budged, so I went ahead and pulled in the fish by hand.  No surprise that it was a rather large Channel Catfish.

CWF05302016catfishThe rod stealing catfish, Bryce’s face shows he didn’t trust the fish

I threw the fish in the canoe so Bryce could see it up close and do a couple pictures.  After the fish was released, I was shocked to see the bobber was out of sight again.  With no fish pulling it, I assumed it would stay at the surface and my plan was to swim out to it, follow the line to the rod and free the rod from whatever it was stuck on.  Even though the bobber was not visible, I swam out thinking I would still be able to feel the line or bobber under the surface.  After 30 minutes, I gave up, and decided to just leave it as another good fishing story.

Making the most of little time

Time is a commodity I don’t have much of these days.  Between a demanding career and family, fishing has been few and far between in 2015.  Along with very limited outings, getting the time to even do a brief write up has proven difficult.  On the up side, when I have made it out I have had some good success.  Most notably, I made it over to the Sandusky River White Bass run and timed it perfect.  It was non stop action with a real nice class of fish.  Plenty of bonus species also kept things interesting.

CWF05032015wbA 16″ Fish Ohio Award White Bass

The pond has been fishing well, and of course gets the majority of my attention as it provides a quick fishing ‘fix’ when there is no time to get anywhere else.  For the most part, I just have been working on my fly fishing and seem to be getting more proficient.

CWF05032015pumpkinPumpkinseed are quite beautiful

CWF05032015flybassA few Bass get to the fly before the Bluegill

Only a single trip was made to the various spring trout stockings and even on that day I didn’t have much time.  I was happy to at least get a fish, a rather decent 12″ Rainbow that under the circumstances, made my day.

CWF05032015troutInstagram trout selfie

I’m not feeling very worthy of calling myself a fishing blogger these days with so little time for fishing and writing.  I appreciate the folks that still stop by and/or follow on Facebook, even a small following makes me want to continue doing this.  I hope everyone out there is having a fun spring and making some great catches!