That first fish…Passing it on to future generations
Do you remember the first fish you caught? The thrill of feeling that little tug? Perhaps you watched a bobber take off across a river or stream, or saw it dive deep into the water? Who took you to catch your first fish? Where you caught your first fish?
I honestly can’t recall my first fish as a child. Most likely it was with a cane pole at my Grandparents House of their pier on the Tchoutacabouffa River in Biloxi, MS or perhaps it was at The Cross-eyed Cricket just outside of Knoxville, TN (Which I sadly found out recently closed several years back). There are plenty of pictures of me catching various little sunfish growing up, a trout her or there, but I do recall my first “big” fish as a child. I was about 8 years old and I was bottom fishing with chucks of old shrimp from my grandparents pier when I hooked into a 3lb cat. At the time it was the fight of the century and I really had only caught little brim and perch with the occasional baby cat. I remember after catching it watching my grandfather clean it, and that night eating fried catfish.
Here we are, many years later and I’m getting to pass along fishing to my grandson. For the last year or so his favorite toy has been his fishing poles and he has gone through a few. We’ve taken him out and let him through his plastic fish in the water, his favorite bath toys are fishing lures, but he never got to put a hook, or as he calls them a “sharp hanger”, on his line to try and really catch one. Until now.
This past weekend my beautiful wife and I got to take him to the Buck Snort Trout Ranch, a trout farm that raises Rainbow trout for restaurants and sale but also has a spillway and pond that can be fished out of. We had packed out gear and we were ready. Now, I’ve fished wild and stocked trout out on local rivers so I tied a trout magnet on his line and had him start throwing it. The fish (which on the spill way were massive in numbers) had no interest in the artificial bait as it was too foreign for them and turned their noses up at out choice in bait so it was back to the tackle bag. Noticing that they were quite aggressive towards his red and white bobber I pulled out some salmon eggs and a small hook and we put his line back in the water. We Had found the magic sauce and he was on fire.
I was able to capture the day in photos, the joy of catching his first fish, which at 3, I don’t expect he will remember, but I know I always will. He did better than I expected for a three year old, he listened and waited for me to tell him when to start reeling it in and he ended up catch not one but SIX trout (all roughly in the 1lb range). He was casting and reeling them in all on his own, the only help he needed was lifting them out of the water. If it wasn’t for us dragging him out I think he would have stayed all day as he kept telling me we need to “Catch all of them”. I couldn’t tell you who enjoyed it more, him or me, although honestly it was probably me.
If you get the opportunity to take a kid out fishing do it! They are the future of the sport and who knows perhaps a future BassMaster champion.