Fishing With My Sons
By Sam Wright
It is four in the morning, and I have never seen the boys so excited. I was excited, too, since it was the first time I was going fishing with my sons. We borrowed a larger inflatable fishing boat and extra life jackets for my two sons. We are heading out on an adventure. Our plans entail a short road trip to our local dam that has some of the best crappie fishing around. My buddy Tom wouldn’t eat a crappie. He is sure it is beneath his refined taste, and he brags of his expertise fishing skills and his luck with bass. I, however, am pretty sure I am easily as good a fisherman as my pal Tom, and my taste buds sure like a good cornbread battered crappie.
Riding to the dam, I decided I needed to educate the boys so they would learn to appreciate this time. “Boys,” I said, “Zane Grey, my favorite outdoors writer, once stated, every fishing water has its secrets. A river or a lake is not a dead thing. It has beauty, wisdom and content. And to yield up these mysteries it must be fished with more than hooks and for more than fish. Strange things happen to the inquiring fisherman. Nature meets him halfway on his adventure.”
My little guy spoke up, “Daddy, will there be mysteries like aliens? Is that the strange things that we will see today?”
“Not likely son, Mr. Grey most likely meant that we need to pay attention to all the noises, all the sights, all the smells, and all the animals. You will see and hear things today you probably have never seen or heard before. Watch for that.”
My oldest son eagerly interjected, “I saw frogs and a turtle the last time I got to go fishing.”
The conversation continued as the boys imagined all sorts of varmints and critters they might spot today. The boys asked me why I liked to go fishing, and that took me back to my dad and grandfather, and the rest of the trip they listened intently as I told them of other fishing trips. They understood this was a family tradition that someday they would pass on to their children. Pride and smiles flourished as much as the new fishermen’s souls that were being cultivated.
We arrived and I showed the boys how I picked out the best spot. We looked at the clarity of the water, the type of cover, and even the temperature of the lake. If the water is warmer, the fish are more likely to be closer to the surface. If the water is clear they also are also more likely to not be as deep. Continuing to enlighten their fishing minds, I explained that in murky waters, the fish are more likely to be tighter together as their visibility is decreased. Understanding the season is important as well. As the season gets warmer, the fish migrate to shallow protected bays and coves. They will eventually spawn in these areas.
“Dad, what is spawning?”
Answering my oldest son, “That is when fish make babies.”
“Oh,” my son continued, “Dad, how did you learn all this stuff?”
“Many trips with grandpa and you will learn by many trips with me.”
“That sure sounds good. I like learning all this stuff. Do you think I will catch a fish today?”
“Son, we never know, but we sure hope we each catch many fish. If not, there is always another day.”
Arriving, unpacking and getting on the lake went quicker than expected. I was surprised how quickly the inflatable boat pumped up with only a small foot pump. This was a bigger boat than I had used before and it worked out very well. The boys eagerly followed instructions and baited hooks. Then we waited. Waiting proved to be the hardest element for the boys, but we found that a few stories helped to pass the time. In the middle of one of my yarns, the littlest boy got a bite. Instructions flew as the little guy hung on and was a real trouper. He listened well, and with a little help, he reeled in the first fish of the day. “What is it,” he screamed. “Son, you have your first crappie and he will be mighty tasty for tonight’s dinner.”
Hours passed before another fish was boated. Thankfully, my older boy got a bite. The little guy was issuing instructions like the new found pro, and luckily it was one of those days when the older brother kept his mouth shut and let the little guy beam with his pride of his new knowledge as the ‘expert fisherman.’ Both boys landing a fish made it the perfect day on the lake.
The author, Sam Wright is Kentucky born and bred. Sam lives with his wife and two sons and often enjoys the many lakes and rivers in his beautiful state. Sam occasionally writes about his adventures and enjoys sharing his journeys.