Setting The Hook

Every summer, I take a friend's three kids fishing to a nearby park. I offered again this year with the kids being 9, 7 and 5.

One thing I love to do is help people catch fish, especially kids. I love seeing their reactions and excitement as they reel in bluegills. I always hope that it plants the seed for a lifelong love of fishing, but am happy if they simply come away having had a good time.

Years ago, when our kids were small, my brothers and I would help our young kids on the dock at the cabin. It was both the best and most stressful hour at the cabin. Between the crossed lines, the need for hook baiting, the near miss lip-hooks due to inattentive casting and the fish releases, there is always a need to be met. All of this assumes there are no personality clashes among the cousins during the fracas.

Well, yesterday was all of that. But as I said, part of me thrives on it. The other part needs a nap.

It started with me opening the night crawlers I'd bought from Walmart and finding them all rotten and dead. I now remember why I don't shop at Walmart.

Anyways, plan B had me borrowing some worms from a guy the next spot over. He saved the day and the fishing began.

So I start baiting hooks and helping them cast them out. No sooner do the bobbers hit the water than they start bobbing up and down. Running triage at this point, I can only do verbal coaching for the kids as I bait someone else's hook.

As the day progresses, the eldest manages to get his line in a nearby tree. It hangs perilously over the water and requires cutting my losses and a redo of his line. All the while, his sister has taken to saying "My worm is toast!" which makes me laugh every time which pleases her, no end. The more I laugh at it, the more she says it. I joke about it with her and it becomes a term of endearment between us. These kids remind me of my own. Well behaved, happy and respectful.

Well, not to be outdone, the youngest gets his line in such a rats nest that it requires a total redo. While I do that he takes the opportunity to play with the worms. Meanwhile, the girl tells me her worm is toast and the eldest cracks up when he manages to get his line snagged in a nearby bush.

Everybody has their cross that I must bear on this hot day in August. I tie, I bait, I unstick the stuck. In between all of this chaos an occasional fish is even caught.

All of it is work and I love that everyone is laughing and having fun.

After two hours of this, we finish out the day with the eldest catching a nice largemouth bass. It is the cap on top of a fun day and a great chance to leave on a high note.
In all seriousness.

We celebrate it all with ice cream at Dairy Queen, which poses its own form of triage and damage control.

But as I said, it is all a labor of love for me. I miss having kids this young sometimes. An outing like yesterday reminds me of how fast they grow up, and how important it is to have fun with them while you have the chance.

Blogging off...


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