Fishing separates the men from the girls
I love fishing. The solitude. The quiet. The experience of feeling like a part of nature, feeling my place in the circle of life, listening to the wind shake the leaves, the water lap the shore. And then letting loose with a piercing scream as I feel a phantom tug on my line, reeling it in like a madman, to be followed by disappointment and shame. Then it starts all over again.
I haven't always been a big fan of fishing. I remember my dad taking my brother and me as a kid, always trying to catch some of his favorite fish: the walleye. I was bored to tears. Now, I love to fish. I like buying all of the accessories. You should know a fundamental truth about me. My enthusiasm almost always outweighs my knowledge of any particular activity. I'm constantly jumping in with both feet, buying all the things that go along with it, and never using half of what I bought because I don't know what the heck it's for.
Same goes for fishing.
"What's that, Casey?"
"Hooks! Big ones!"
"Don't you think they might be a little too big?"
"If you're going to catch big fish, you need big hooks! Look at these!"
"I think a good rule of thumb is that you shouldn't use hooks that are bigger than a fish's mouth. And I'm going to level with you. Those aren't fishing hooks. Those are ropes tied to meat hooks."
"I know! I'm going to catch Jaws!"
But I've since settled down. Somewhat.
A few weeks ago, the Prescott Valley Police Department hosted "Cops and Bobbers" at Fain Park. Kids could fish for free, and were given poles and bait.
I have to admit, before that time, I've never really tried to get my four girls interested in fishing. I took my oldest fishing once before when we were visiting northern Wyoming. We found a little creek, and she threw her line in. Ten seconds later, she reeled in a fish. Then she declared that she was done.
When "Cops and Bobbers" came along, I thought it a perfect way to show the whole family the joys of fishing.
Much like my father did so many years ago when he taught me to fish, I woke the girls at 5 a.m. Unlike my father, I blasted Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" for them on the stereo. Oh, how they screamed and tried to hide under their covers. It was adorable. It's so good to be the Dad.
I draped their exhausted little forms higgledy-piggledy about the car seats and drove to Fain. After we picked our spot, I started preparing the fishing gear.
Should I have prepared everything earlier? Yes, I should have. Feel good about yourself, now? You proved me wrong.
First, I prepared Izzy's pole. Then Annie's. While I was getting Jessie's ready, Izzy lost her bait. So I rebaited that hook and finished Jessie's pole. Then the line fell out of Charlie's pole. While I was rewinding it, Annie caught a branch, then Izzy broke her line. Got the branch off Annie's line, repaired Izzy's line, and finally finished Charlie's. All right, I foolishly thought. My turn.
"Dad?" Izzy asked in a plaintive voice. I turn around to see her line not leading into the water, but high into the branches she was standing under. "I caught the tree."
I never did get a chance to fish, just helped the girls. And at the end of the day, we hadn't caught a single fish.
But fishing, in my opinion, is a lot like golf: it's still fun even if you're no good at it. That is, unless you're with someone else who is fantastic at it. Another dad there with his kids was reeling in fish left and right. He even let Annie reel in a couple for him. The show-off. Thought he was so cool because he knew which lures worked best from winning all those fishing contests.
But we did have fun, and we'll go fishing again. This weekend, I'm going to interest them in more Dad activities. Sleeping on the couch! Woohoo!