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Fishing with Kids...or No Limit on Fun
I recently took my 5 year old granddaughter on our 3rd annual fishing outing together. We enjoyed the day at one of the trout parks in Missouri and enjoyed the day fishing, picnicking and visiting the hatchery.
It is another tradition I find myself passing on. My grandfather and father used to take me and my brothers to this same place when we were kids, up through teenagers.
I ended up taking my own daughter here to fish when she was a kid. The only thing I am sure of is that little of this activity is actually fishing. I can remember my dad messing with my younger brothers’ lines while I and my next youngest brother were setting up our poles. My youngest brother, Keith, always needed some help from someone, but he caught the most fish too. Being the oldest, I don’t remember being much of a pain.
Fishing with the kids isn’t really fishing though. When I took my daughter, Vivian to the trout park in St. James, I spent most of the day cutting line and putting new hooks, weights and bait on. She had quite the knack for throwing the line 50-60 feet straight in the air, and catching the nearest tree above. When she did manage to straighten it out, fishermen on the other side of the bank were ducking her casts. She hooked me, another fisherman, several trees, several others lines and the bench sitting behind us near where we were fishing. I don’t recall if her line made it to the water or not. I know mine didn’t get there much, in fact she was messing up my pole while I was fixing hers most of the day, and fixing mine. She was throwing line into trees as fast as I could set the poles up.
I know I had my line entanglements, and hooked one of my brothers once, but nothing like this. I grew up with only boys, and had no expectations for any of the girls, I was just happy they wanted to participate.
Now as Grandpa, I have made a little fishing partner out of my soon to turn six year old granddaughter, who I started taking fishing just before her third birthday. She is younger than my daughter when I took her fishing, so I am not worried about the trees.
My granddaughters’ biggest problem is getting her line tangled before she casts. But she gets it out there, not very far, and seems to always lose her bait as the “fish are eating it”. Someone fishing near us caught one too small and threw it back, being stunned still, it fish swam around the top of the water and was accused of taking her bait.
I managed to get a few cast out onto the water. Alyssa, being five, doesn’t last as long before it is time to stop for a bit, snack and come back. She actually has casting down fairly well and is ready for a bigger pole. Next year I may have to worry about the tree, as her sister is turning three this summer and will be joining us. She is wilder than her older sister and I am already foreseeing line flying everywhere and this one may want to get into the water herself.
The day really isn’t about fishing at all, for if we were there to fish for survival or really trying to catch fish we would fail miserably – unless my youngest brother is around maybe. For that matter, I am not even concerned about using the proper bait. My granddaughter likes the sparkly, pink Mike’s Glitter Mallows, and pink Berkely Powerbait balls that look like marshmallows, not perfect for rainbow trout. Yellow and pink worms too. She caught a stick this year and was all excited about it, saying it was “a good stick to catch”. The day is about spending time with the kids/grandkids and passing on a tradition and yet making it our own.
My daughter, Vivian, loved the hatchery, where rainbow trout are raised and released into the streams at the state parks. She kept touching them because they were so close. You can also feed the fish in the hatchery and a sanctuary area. Alyssa loved feeding the fish and noticed there were two yellow fish in the sanctuary area and called them the “Great Yellow Fish” and directed her feeding efforts towards them. I am not sure if the “great yellow fish” were albinos or what, but she excited by it.
My fishing skills have surely declined, I haven’t used my flies in years now, and doubt I remember which are which, much less make my own. My tackle box is crowded full of Barbie pink bait. It will all come back though when I retire some day and fish more. For now it is about setting up the lines, putting on pink bait and repeat.
When I was growing up, I only knew it was fun for me. My grandfather never told me it was so much fun for him too. Fishing with the kids has been the best fishing I have ever had, no limit needed for fun.