So I was reminded today exactly why I started fishing.
My youngest son and I (he’s 20) went to the local pond this morning to do a little fishing (sitting on the dock, bs’ing). After maybe 30 minutes, 2 small children (maybe 3 and 5) stroll over to me and say “hi”. Mom was bringing up the rear with all of their “gear” in tow. The youngest shows me her collection of goose feathers she’s collected. I comment on how pretty they are. My own granddaughter is always showing me her “collections” when we go fishing. The older of the 2 starts telling me how he can’t seem to catch anything. So I show him an area under a tree a few feet to my left. The water is shaded and you can see the bluegill popping the waterline in an almost constant fury. It almost looked like piranha. So I look at his, I think it was Spider-Man, set up and see he has a size 1 Aberdeen hook with some Powerbait eggs. So I reach in my tackle box, grab a size 6 snell and a container of Walmart worms and give them to his mom. Then I tell her to just have him plop it in the water and wait a few minutes. She thanked me and told me that her son had never caught a fish before. Not 2 minutes later, I hear that all familiar, “I’ve got one!”. And sure enough, as I look over, mom is taking his picture holding a 4” bluegill. I applaud and tell him “great job” and all. Later, as we were leaving. The family was still under the tree catching bluegills. I stopped by and asked the boy, “so, was that your first ever fish?” He says, “yes sir”. Both of these children were extremely polite and courteous. So I say, “can I see your hat for a second?” Again, “yes sir”. So I pull a “hat hook” out of my pocket and say, “well, you’re a REAL FISHERMAN now. And every real fisherman needs a “hat hook”. That way, everybody knows, that you’re a real fisherman”. He and his mother thanked me again, and the young girl gave me one of her “prize feathers” which I promptly stuck in my cap. I thanked her and we went home.
I say that this is a reminder of why I started fishing. That’s because, although I’ve always “fished”, it never became a regular thing until my boys were old enough to appreciate and enjoy it. Whether or not that boy continues fishing, I’ll never know. But it was nice to be able to help someone again. And to see the smile one gets when fishing is just fun. Like it’s supposed to be.