Our fishing adventures
Fishing is relatively new to me. Of course, since we joined cub scouts, I have been exposed to many new and interesting things. Camping, pinewood derby racing, and organizing the fund-raising are all new experiences, but fishing takes the cake. The boys love it!
Our first experience with fishing as a family was at our Pack’s fall campout last year. My plan was to sit in the sun and enjoy the day watching my boys have fun with the other scouts. I wasn’t too worried about them catching anything. My youngest wasn’t even sure he wanted to try. If they did have a stroke of beginners luck, I was reassured to know that dad was there to take care of removing and releasing the wiggly, slimy fish from the hook for them. Having no equipment of our own, we borrowed a rod and bait from our fearless scoutmaster. I was petrified the boys would throw it in the lake or break it somehow. My brave husband did have to wade into the ice cold lake to rescue it at one point. Other than that everything went well and everyone had a good time, even though no fish were caught.
Naturally, both boys fell in love with fishing and declared that they needed fishing rods of their own. Their wish was granted when their Uncle Matthew set them both up for their birthdays. He even included a couple of lures so I wouldn’t have to deal with worms. Very thoughtful of him! Oh what an exciting day that was! It wasn’t long until I was the proud owner of my very own Urban Fishing License. We were ready to go. Fortunately, our desert city is blessed with many man-made lakes and ponds tucked into a multitude of parks which are seasonally stocked for our fishing enjoyment.
Our first trip was to the lovely Encanto Park in downtown Phoenix. We went with our den leader and her two boys. I had someone else to share the worm hooking and fish removal duties with me. Although the plan was not to use worms, it didn’t work out that way. The fish ignored our pretty lures, we could see them swimming around in the water, but they didn’t come close. I was happy about the prospect of no fish to unhook, but my poor boys were disappointed. So we borrowed some worms from our friends. Now the boys could watch the fish nibble the worms right off the hooks without any of them getting caught. Obviously these city fish were smarter than your average fish. We figured they must be experienced at the catch and release process and had learned how to get a free meal without the pain.
Although everyone was sad that no fish were caught, everyone had a great time and the trip was declared a success. They couldn’t wait to go again. The only setback was trouble with Danny’s fishing line. It kept getting tangled with itself and stuck in its spool. It finally got itself into such a mess that I couldn’t fix it anymore. After an hour on my final attempt we decided to go back to the store for help. The kind folks at the Sportsman’s Warehouse we happy to lend a hand to a clueless mom and her boys. I felt better when our professional fisherman solved the problem by cutting the line. He also gave us some very valuable advice, showed us how to use the equipment properly and even managed to sell us a few new items to improve our fishing experience.
I am very thankful to him. Our next trip would be a whole different experience. It seems our hooks were too big for our little metro fish. That explained the nibbling. Our new hooks were super tiny, and the addition of a spinner to our line ended the impossible tangling. We also purchased the suggested mealworms, which were a lot less slimy than earthworms. TJ was even able to bait his own hook with them. Less slime, happy momma.
This time we were at the much closer (and smaller) Roadrunner Park. I had gotten myself out of bed at the early hour of 6am, (Go ahead, laugh. I am not a morning person) and managed to get us all to the park a little after 8. It wasn’t quite 100 degrees yet, but still warm enough for us to have the place mostly to ourselves. Our biggest problem was the multitude of ducks. This was a popular place to come and feed them, so they were quick to mob any new visitors. Once they accepted the fact that we weren’t a source of breakfast, they backed off enough for us to put our lines in the water. For a while nothing much happened. TJ had some action on his bobber, but each time the fish got away with the worm without getting caught. Danny wasn’t having any movement on his line and finally decided to let me do it for him. Within minutes, I caught our first fish ever! It was very exciting. Except I now had to get the thing off the line and back in the water. It was as slimy as I had imagined. It was also harder than I thought. The fish had swallowed the hook and worm whole and I couldn’t get it free. For a minute I worried that I would never get it off. Images of it dying in my hands or being squashed in my efforts to free it almost made me panic. I didn’t know what to do. Finally the hook came out, worm and all. Immediately he started squirming and I dropped him. Fortunately he was able to flop himself back into the water, probably very relieved to have survived the ordeal. Danny was ready to have his line back and within minutes he also caught a fish. Within minutes, TJ had caught one too. Before I had it off the hook, Danny had his second catch of the day. All together we caught 6 fish within the last 20 minutes we had before we had to leave, one for mom, three for Danny and two for TJ.
It was a wonderful way to start our last free day of the summer. Today they are back in school, but they are already looking forward to our next fishing trip. They have decided that I need my own fishing rod and are plotting ways to get me one. A whole new dimension of excitement has been added to any future camping trips and their grandfather has promised to take them fishing in the ocean the next time we visit. They can hardly wait.