Lately, my kid has been obsessed with going fishing. But frankly, because he’s only 10, he doesn’t remember the last few times I’ve taken him fishing haven’t exactly been memorable experiences. Of course there’s the time we went to Troutdale, a fish farm with cement ponds stocked with trout. He caught a fish and was very excited until blood spurted out of the fish as I struggled to unhook this mighty 6″ trout.
The last time we went fishing more closely resembled “actual” fishing. But of course, it went a lot like most fishing trips with kids. Early in the morning, another dad and I roused the uncooperative kids from their beds (my son, my friend’s son and a niece, all around 7 or 8-years-old) and throw them in the car. We stop at a bait & tackle shop to buy some worms on the way up. The boys, excited to see the worms, start playing with them in the back seat, splashing dirt and worms around my car despite our commands to “Stop.”
The fishing spot is an idyllic foot-bridge that sits a few feet above a lazy stream. The reeds on the banks fence in the murky water. The sun is breaking through the early morning fog. We lay out our gear and get the kids ready. The problem is, with two dads and three kids, we’re always outnumbered. The three-ringed circus is about to begin.
While showing two of them how to weave a worm on a hook, the remaining kid entertains himself by swinging his line and hook over our heads like a cowboy ready to lasso any unsuspecting dad who stands up too fast. “Please stop.” After careful, instruction on casting, two lines go in the water. One kid has some how managed to get their line in a wad at the reel. If I had spent the next hour trying to foul my line this bad, I couldn’t have come close to the devastation this kid did in one swing. I spend 20 minutes untangling the line. In the meantime, the one who understood the idea of casting, reels in his line, casts, reels in, casts, and reels in at such a tremendous speed that no fish in his right mind would ever bite the bait. He only slows down when he casts into the near by reeds and gets stuck. We cut the line and reset the hook. In ring three, the third kid has now found the lead weights and attached all of them onto her line and of course found a sunken log to get snagged on. And by then kid one has another tangled spool of fishing line. Why doesn’t this kid get it? Another 20 minutes.
“Please be careful, you’re about to kick the bait,” I calmly urge my son. “Huh?” he replies as he spins around to see what I’m warning him of. And of course, he kicks the bait off the bridge. Plop. We watch helplessly as a styrofoam raft of dirt and nightcrawlers bobs gently down stream and out of sight.
My gaze shifts from the stream, to my friend. He gives me the nod. I stand and ask, “Who wants to go get ice-cream?”
originally posted 7/4/11