Fishin'. One of the major things on the kids' bucket list for the summer was "go fishing." Mission accomplished at a fantastic little joint where you don't pay for tackle, don't pay for licenses, don't pay for time . . . but you keep what you catch. And you pay by the inch.
Three hours and four fish later, we have four prize winning rainbow trout, four smilin' youngsters and a successful family outing.
Middle was the first one with a fish on the line. She was so shocked at the "reel it in, honey, reel it in" that she sort of, well, er, freaked out and just started walking backward. Luckily, she didn't have much line out and she was able to pull her catch up on shore.
Little hooked the next one. It was the biggest one of the day. A giant mama rainbow trout. When we cleaned, she was FULL of eggs. I love the look on his face. Right after I snapped the shot, he dropped the fish and it went flopping all around . . . just about went back in the lake!!
Big hooked two on this trip. One with a little help and one completely solo.
Mimi fished and stayed with it for a long time. She got really good at reeling in, but mostly carried the bait bucket around asking if anyone needed a new 'wormie'. Once there were fish in the bucket, she obsessively checked on them. Cute words of the day were, "Uh, it's dead now." (Sidenote: Anyone specifically atuned to fashion? Yes, she did dress herself. Yes, her clothes are on backward. Yes, she is barefoot. And, no, I don't care. She's happy, therefore, I am happy.)
As a kid, I spent more time than the average kid fishing. On a boat, at a lake, taking care of bait, tackle, bobbers and spinners. Fishing was one of my dad's favorite activites and I could rig a line in about 20 seconds and was an expert at casting by the time I was in kindergarten. My dad was a devout fisherman. He had a trophy of a trout that lived on his desk. It is one of those things I remember from my youth. It was fat and ugly and dusty. But it was HIS and it sat on HIS desk. Fishing with my dad was kind of like going to the library, as a kid. There was alot of "shhhh" and "fish won't bite if there's a ripple on the water." We were shushed into silence more times that not. I spent many a long afternoon huddled up under the bow of the fishing boat, in a nest made of weathered old orange lifejackets reading a book by the light of an emergency beacon. The sway of the boat would lull me to sleep, or I'd lay down in that hideout praying for daylight, the shore and a port-a-potty. Exhausted from the day and with horrible sunburn, we'd return from fishing just in time to clean our catch. Smart dad that I had, he taught me (and my brother) to clean fish from an early age. Actually, we'd set up an assembly line of cleaners. He'd drag the hose across the back lawn and turn it on to just a trickle. He'd turn over three buckets out by the flower bed and we'd perch on them, me, my brother & my dad. My brother had the knife. He'd take a fish, slice it from woo-woo to gills and hand it off to me. My job was to loop my finger into the gills, rip the gills and pull the guts in one swift pull, then hand it to my dad. He scraped the black and bloody icky stuff from the spine, lopped its head off and put it in the 'clean' pile.
We've had a few small fishing trips, but nothing like this one. Nothing as successful, for one. And nothing where the kids had this much fun, for another. I had a parenting ephiphany this weekend. It's not that I didn't have fun as a kid, fishing with my dad. I did. I had plenty of fun. But not fun, FUN. The fish DO bite with a ripple on the water. It doesn't take absolutely silence to drown worms and make memories. Here's an old growing up family tradition that I resurrected from this trip. When I was a kid, after every trip, my dad would lay the fish out, pose whichever kids were on the trip and snap a picture with his camera. The earliest trip was before the time of polaroids and I can remember fighting with my brother over which one of us got to hold the picture, rubbing that special paper for 20 seconds before peeling it back to view the magic. He'd carefully print the date, our names & where we went in careful, black, bold, square letters.
Mimi, Middle, Big & Little
Estes Park, Colorado