As seen on MyBuckStory.com
My three year old son looked at me with eyes of anticipation as I got the fishing pole and small tackle box ready. Today my destination wasn’t a secluded trout stream or deep hole in the river. The two of us were going to the small pond in town to catch some bluegills for supper. He was talking a mile a minute, asking questions about the size, number, and type of fish were we going to catch. Anyone who has had or has been around a toddler of this age knows what I’m talking about!
When we reached the pond, we were the only ones there – perfect! I let him carry the fishing pole, hoping it would still be in one piece and not tangled in a tree by the time we got to our spot. I carried the other gear and held his hand as we walked toward the pond together.
Like a pot on a hot stove, my son was bubbling over with anticipation. I threaded a wax worm onto his hook and helped him cast his bobber out onto the water. Almost instantly the bobber twitched and went under. My son shrieked, set the hook like he was fishing for a great white shark, and horsed the first bluegill of the day to shore.
Once the fish was flopping on the bank, my son exclaimed that we needed to keep it and bring it home to mommy. I agreed and unhooked the fish, letting him drop it into our bucket. Throughout the morning, many hungry fish were pulled from the pond by my excited fisherman. We easily could have brought home a bucketful of fish to show mommy. However, when there was a break in the action, I explained to my son that we only needed a few fish for dinner and we should release the rest to catch another day. He agreed and had a blast tossing the fish back into the water, watching them swim away.
Even the constant action the fish were offering couldn’t hold my son’s attention forever and he eventually wanted to go home. I obliged and together we packed up our gear, picked up some garbage another fisherman left at the pond, and walked hand-in-hand back to our vehicle. When we got there and I helped him into his car seat, my son whispered in my ear, “thanks for taking me fishing daddy, I had a lot of fun!” and he gave me a big hug.
This fishing trip was by far my favorite one of the year. I realized I didn’t need to chase the elusive musky or jig for a trophy walleye to have a great fishing experience. I was able to accomplish this while sitting on the bank of a small pond catching bluegills with my son.
On this one seemingly simple fishing trip I was able to teach my son a lesson in resource management, conservation, and life. We could have kept our limit of fish, but we only kept enough to cook for supper and released the rest. While we picked up the garbage left by other anglers, I was able to explain to him the importance of keeping our resources clean for future generations. Additionally, my son and I were able to have a great morning together, growing closer as a family in the great outdoors.
It is vitally important to introduce our youth to the outdoors at an early age. I hope that every fisherman and woman that reads this will make a conscious effort to take a kid fishing this year. A person doesn’t need to land a trophy fish to measure the success of a fishing trip. Take a look at the photograph that accompanies this story. The smile on my son’s face proves that our fishing trip was a success.
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