Summer Project Suggestion: Teach the Joys of Fishing

One of the most romantic images of summer is a picture of kids fishing in a lake or stream. I swear that every photo I have ever seen of kids fishing must have been staged or doctored because that’s not what I remember happening. Mostly I remember

  • Kids catching “weedfish” ; long green aquatic plants from the bottom of the lake that stripped the fresh worm that I had just helped them put it on their hook. 
  • Kids whipping rods and lines around to fish in “a better spot” and tangling two or three others lines in with theirs during the process.
  • Kids who couldn’t cast if their life depended on it
  • Kids catching the edge of the dock, the trees, or anything else within a half mile as they learned to cast.
  • Mostly I remember that after about 10 minutes they started in with “I don’t want to do this any more”.

So much for the iconic image of a child’s summer.

Enter: The Solution

Maybe you do get a smidge wiser as you get older. When the grandchildren decided that they wanted to go fishing I devised a different plan. Here’ what happened.

  • First I found a fish farm, speckled and rainbow trout a specialty.
  • Then I took only 2 children, 1 rod and 1 landing net
  • Hint: Remember to clip the barb off of the hook, and cut the curve of the hook back so the fish has a fighting chance.
  • Flip a coin to see who fishes first. The limit was 3 fish per grandchild.
  • First rule: Unless he falls in, the fisherman is to receive no assistance except for the grandchild with the landing net, if you can call that “help”.
  • The first cast. Almost before the worm hit the water, there was a violent flash as a big trout snagged the bait.
  • The rod bent double. The 6 year old is pulling hard, winding hard and getting absolutely nowhere. I did not move. Fish 1 Grandchild 0 so far.
  • The net lander starts beating the water with the net trying to get it under the fish. The fish is in danger of being hammered into submission rather than caught.
  • The first fish is landed and the celebration is akin to winning the World Cup.
  • A change of fisherman with exactly the same scenario, except that this grandson is only 4years old.
  • It’s all over in about 15 minutes – 6 unhappy fish, two ecstatic grandchildren, one satisfied grandfather and a fine fish dinner.

More like the idyllic picture of a child’s summer that I will now remember.

Try it, you’ll like it.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Michael,

    Just wanted to write to say, I LOVED this fish story! You are so well written and your brilliant sense of humour comes through. I’ve been enjoying your blog all year long and always find I pick up some helpful tips for my practice.
    Keep it coming!

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