We experience many firsts. The outcome often plays a major role in whether or not we desire to repeat the experience. A great experience and we’re excited a repeat; a so-so experience and we may be ambivalent about another round; a bad experience and there may little interest in trying it again. This is especially true of recreational activities, such as fishing.
Alexandria, my granddaughter, is a little over two. Since her birth, I’ve been looking forward to helping teach her to fish. I don’t know exactly how old Jennifer, my daughter was when she caught her first fish, but I’m thinking three or so and it was on an ice fishing outing. So in Alexandria’s case I figured sometime this winter or next year would be about right. The right time to introduce fishing differs from child to child and is based on a combination of physical ability and interest.
In Alexandria’s case, she’s equated “PaPa” and fishing for some time now. Often when we visit she digs out her toy rods, with magnets for lures, and wood fish with metal rivets so we can fish. Good sign!
A few weeks back before EllieMae was born, Jen brought Alexandria out to Jackson to join Cody and me for lunch, a boat ride and a bit of fishing. Alexandria had a great time. So much so, that for the next couple weeks the words boat and fishing were not spoken around her as she got wound up and wanted to go out on the boat and fish right then. A couple times they even called me and put Alexandria on the phone so I could talk to her about fishing. Great Sign!
Two Saturdays ago I figured it would be great if Jen could bring up Alexandria toward the end of the C.A.S.T. event and I’d take them out for a boat ride and a little fishing. Further, I thought it might be good if Alexandria had a “toy” rod so she could fish also. So I bought her a pink Cinderella rod, figuring she’d have something to play with on the boat.
I gave her the rod just before the C.A.S.T. awards ceremony, figuring she’d just carry it around as we had lunch. Nope, once she hit the ground she headed for the water’s edge so she could “fish.” She pulled out line by hand, pointed the rod at the water, and said, “Fish, Papa, fish.” She didn’t want lunch, didn’t want to play with kids, nope, all she wanted to do was “fish.” Only with, “It’s time to go for a boat ride and fish,” were we able to get her to leave the water’s edge.
While on the water at Horsetooth, we cast the line out (fly and bubble rig) and I noticed she was able to reel it back. “Yep, she’s ready for her first fish, even though we’re pushing the physical skills limit,” I thought. So we arranged to meet at Fossil Creek Regional Park the next Sunday morning to see if we couldn’t put Alexandria onto her first fish.
As soon as Alexandria figured out Papa was there with rods and reels, she got wound up. It didn’t take any coaxing to get her headed for the small eastern pond with a rod in hand. Once there I cast out for her. She reeled in and unknowingly missed several fish. Not surprising as there’s an abundance of aggressive green sunfish. The second cast was more fruitful, and with a little assistance from DaDa, Cody, she landing her first fish.
Her interest in “catching” lasted for a second fish, and then it was off to see the ducks and geese. After that she was happy running from Cody, cousin Nick, and me to see our fish. When we suggested heading for the playground it took a bit of bribery as she wanted everyone to stay and fish.
Not sure how this story will unfold, but the signs are excellent that we’ve the makings of an avid angler on our hands.