Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day Fishing Fun

Tradition on Memorial Day weekend has been that I, my Father in law, and my two brothers-n-law remove ourselves from the world for a marathon of fishing. We have at times included my brother, some cousins, and the occasional friend, but usually it’s the four of us. This year was Jackson's turn to join the boys for some weekend fun.

Jackson hadn’t quiet got the hang of casting despite some practice in the drive way and I thought I would be doing the casting and he would be doing the reeling on our trip. But in the moment it came together for him, and despite a bit of a slice, Jackson can cast a fishing pole. And it wasn’t but his second cast, as I was walking back to the boat house to get my tackle set-up that he started screaming. He reminded me of one of the women on Oprah who find out the day of the show that the episode they are in the audience for is the “My Favorite Things” show. I had left him at the shore thinking it might take him a few casts and I had some time. I had all my speeches ready as to what to do, how he should just be patient, and it how it might take him awhile and he hit it on the second cast.

Forever in my mind I will never forget the words, “I did it Dad. I did it Dad. There’s a fish on my line – a real fish. Dad come see, a real fish.” And it was a real fish. Jackson caught a Bass that probably only weighed ¾ of a pound. A just-my-size-Bass we called it. But he did it, he really did, and he was excited and having fun.

So then we get the pictures taken, we get him settled down, we name the fish, and we get back to business. I pass Frank on the way back to the boat house and announce that my weekend is complete and we can go home now smiling a proud smile. Not so much as soon as I pick up my pole again to tie a lure on when I hear, “I did it again Dad. I did it again Dad. There’s another fish on my line – a real fish.” And it was another real fish. A Bluegill this time and Jackson reeled him in too.

I am proud to say that I actually managed to get in the game myself before Jackson caught another one. He did this maybe 10 minutes after he caught the second one, also a Bluegill. So at one point a thought goes through my head that my 5 year old has had a 30 minute fishing career and has caught 3 fish on about 10 casts. Not bad. But after the feelings of pride subsided concerns over what did become a sense of expectation issue began to creep into my head. We managed much of that once we got in boats and headed out to work the shore-lines. That is really when Daddy is at his best fishing anyway; so between actively bringing in fish myself, and a new found interest in naval logistics for Jackson, we handled our attention span concerns with relatively good form. We also discovered that lake winds are cold, fish jump out of a live well when given the opportunity, and we should not let the anchor line wrap around our ankle before we throw the anchor in the water.

Luckily I also got to be hero to my son. Daddy hooked the biggest Bass of the weekend. That isn’t saying much given the conditions of the lake. Most fish there never fully develop due to over population. Most of the fish we catch and clean are a little over a pound. This one was only somewhere around 2 ½ pounds, give or take a few ounces either way. But it was the largest live Bass Jackson ever got to see face to face and in his words, “My Dad caught the biggest Bass ever.” I told him between his 3 fish and natural ability to exaggerate a story; he was turning out to be a natural fisherman. This earned me a thumb’s up and a nod from my pal.


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