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First time out is great, even if you just get tiny nibbles

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012 9:25 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2012 9:34 p.m. CDT

I had a lot to do. A typical Saturday list of chores graced my countertop. The gorgeous weather was planting the spring-cleaning bug real deep into my psyche. My ten year-old had other plans though.

Earlier in the week when I came home from work he had been waiting for me on the front patio. He had his rod, reel, tackle box and life jacket on. There he stood with a look of determination on his face.

We went and fished off our dock for a while that particular evening, but now he was game for something a little more serious. Deep down, I was too.

I had been carefully watching the lake during this warm spell. The first fish that I saw creep out of the main lake depths and into the shallower bay that I live on were giant catfish. The next day a few bluegills and crappie could be seen ambling their way through the cool water.

Finally, on Saturday morning, the largemouth bass had moved into he bay with a vengeance. In just a few minutes Cody and I saw six bass in the 1-2 pound range and one big, fat female largemouth that probably would pull a scale down to that 5-6 pound range. I got my rod.

At my house, nothing is easy. Even the simplest of tasks becomes a major production and getting the little boat ready to hit the lake was falling into the latter category.

Paddles, seats, trolling motor, battery, tackle bags, rods, life jackets and a myriad of other items had to be found. All of those items equate to many trips from the garage to the dock. Of course, my anxious little fishing buddy thought that one trip carrying only his rod would more than suffice. Why should he carry anything else when dad is perfectly capable?

We quickly went over the whole “pull your own weight” speech. Since he wanted to go fishing as much as I did, he reluctantly trudged back up the steps to the garage to grab some more gear. At this point in our departure preparation I had to remind him that he does have two hands.

After many more trips and much more complaining, we were ready to shove off. It felt really good to sit back in the warm sun and cast a line for the first time since last fall. I was so focused on myself that I hardly realized how well my son was doing. He was manipulating his own rod and reel without my assistance and doing a mighty fine job of it.

Wow! This is awesome!

As we worked our way along the shoreline he proceeded to remind me that I was crossing into his territory and to stay on my side of the boat. He also was keen on asking me where would be a good place to cast and then he would send his lure there before I could. I could see that this critter of mine was a spitting image of his old man.

We laughed, talked, and watched the wildlife before us. Every time he spotted a fish in that gin-clear water he attempted to catch it. Frustrated after his best intentions came up short he would command me to “move on.”

Soon it was time to change baits. This fishing routine always amuses me no matter the age of the anglers in the boat. If the fish aren’t biting the problem has to be the lure. Sometimes this is true, but when no one in the boat is getting a bite it is usually a matter of location and presentation. I quickly found out that even after my best teaching and lecturing about the aforementioned subtleties of angling, that a fourth grader prefers that dad just quit yapping and change his bait. So I did.

The sun was growing weary in the western sky so we started to slowly make our way back to our home dock. So far Cody’s casting had been quite good. He had only been hung up in a bush on the shoreline once. He wasn’t pleased with me when I told him he had to untangle the mess, but hey, need I refer back to the pull-your-own-weight speech from earlier?

Just as we were ready to pull up to the dock a small one-pound bass grabbed my jig and ran off with it. I really enjoyed the first tussle of 2012. I hope there are many more to follow. 

Now it was the dreaded time where we had to carry everything back up the steps and into the garage again. Cody was the first out of the boat, the first to grab one item and the first up the steps leaving dad with a pile of gear.

Imagine that.

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