I’m fortunate to have a daughter and son-in-law who enjoy fishing, which includes fishing with Dad. Even better, I’ve two granddaughters who both enjoy “Papa’s” company. While EllieMae is too young to catch the fishing bug, Alexandria, at three, appears to have contracted the disease with a vengeance. Admittedly, her parents and I have done our part in exposing her to fishing but she has expressed far more interest than I would have expected at this age.
A few weeks back I pulled up to the house with the boat in preparation for the next day’s fishing. It turned out Alexandria was there with Cody. When she saw the boat she went a bit bonkers, hoping to go boating and fishing that afternoon. It took some effort to restrain her while I parked the boat. Needless to say, it took some explaining that we weren’t going out that afternoon and she’d have to settle for playing in the boat.
One couldn’t help but laugh as she played fishing from the boat, casting her imaginary rod, setting the hook, reeling the fish in, and then putting them in the live well. There is no doubt she has the fishing concepts worked out.
I brought her rod and reel out, a pink Barbie outfit. It’s always rigged with a casting bubble and fly. After removing the fly I handed her the rod. She immediately began pretending to cast. With a little encouragement and coaching, she managed to make a few successful casts, much to our surprise and delight, illustrating kids are often able to accomplish more than we think they can if we allow them to try.
The real challenge that afternoon was bribing Alexandria in order to get her out of the boat for dinner. She didn’t want to quit fishing, even if it was only pretend. That girl definitely has Papa’s love of the sport.
Mother’s Day morning I made breakfast for everyone, which was followed by Sue and Jennifer heading out, leaving Cody and me to tend to the granddaughters. After the morning naps, Cody and I opted to take the girls to a neighborhood pond to fish. Needless to say, once Alexandria got wind we were going fishing, she was one cooperative child.
I had fished the pond earlier in the week with good success for bluegill, crappie, and largemouth bass. I figured conditions would be much the same and that proved to be true. I rigged Alexandria’s rod with a casting bubble followed by three feet of leader and a large pheasant tail. After casting the bubble out, I handed the rod to Alexandria to reel it in. As expected, a bluegill took the pheasant tail and she reeled in her first fish of the day, nice eight incher.
It was great fun watching my granddaughter’s excitement as she caught fish, but once landed, she showed “fear” of what she’d just caught. With a bit of coaxing we’d get her to touch the fish, along with her sister, but she wasn’t quite ready to handle them on her own. Over the next hour, she caught a number of bluegill, even making an occasional good cast on her own. Despite the great fishing, it wasn’t long before Alexandria was ready to move on to new activities, so we made a stop at the playground before heading home for lunch.
When fishing with youngsters, the time on the water is often short, but what they lack in endurance, they more than make up for with youthful enthusiasm.
First published in the Fort Collins Coloradoan 5-15-16