Bear Bait spent most of Memorial Day weekend on quarantine with his brother, fighting off a case of strep. Neither one of those boys is what you’d consider an inside boy. They’re only barely house-trained. (Still working on teaching Bogie not to chew on the furniture.)
Momma lost a rock-paper-scissors tournament and got to stay home with both of them today. I called in around nine to check on them and could hear the chaos bubbling around her teeth-clenched, “Fine” when I asked how things were going. Had her put Bear Bait on the phone & gave him a little pep-talk. Promised to do something special and outdoors with him soon as I got home. All he had to do was be good to his momma and be tolerant of his brother. His only request . . . he wanted to go fishing.
My heart did a little flutter. No paternity test needed, that boy is definitely mine. Now, see, I’ve been trying to get that boy fishing ever since he was old enough to chuck rocks into the water. I’ve learned, through trial and error, a few critical rules:
Rule 1: Only bring one fishing pole. His. You’ll have your hands full with that one, trust me. If you want some peaceful, doze in the shade fishing, then go by yourself.
Rule 2: Bring extra bobbers.
Rule 3: Teach ’em to yell out “cast!” before slinging cork and always, always stand opposite whichever hand he holds the rod.
Rule 4: Always keep your eye on the cork, especially when it is out of the water. Stay light on your toes.
Rule 5: Be prepared to hold his rod while he’s chasing bugs, playing with the worms, digging through the tackle, or chunking rocks. Be prepared to hand it over immediately when the hook is set. His pole, his trip = his fish.
Soon as I got home, Momma met me at the door with a smiling review of Bear Bait‘s behavior between the phone-call and my arrival. And since a daddy that can’t find time to take his boy fishing ain’t no kind of daddy worth having, I had his pole ready before I walked in from the garage. We live about a half-mile from a little creek pond chock full of turtles and bluegill.
The baby bluegills were dancing his cork around as soon as he hit the water, which does amazing things for his attention span. After feeding them a few worms, I switched him over to a smaller barbed hook and just threaded little pieces of worm onto it. He landed his first fish today, catching two before dinner. I’d post pictures, but I couldn’t find the digital camera before we left. I keep a disposable camera in my tackle, though, just for emergencies like, oh, my son catching his first fish.
He lasted about thirty minutes before he wanted to head home and eat. He’s still not 100% well and 30 minutes of uninterrupted fishing is a record for him. Walking back up the hill, he turned to me and asked, “Dad, think we can go fishing tomorrow?”
Yeah, I do.