Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Teach a Grandson to Fish and Get Hooked on His Lines!
Walk2Write and I head to the far reaches of the western Florida panhandle for another much anticipated weekend at home. Son, grandson Micah, and I plan a fishing trip for Saturday morning. For me and the better half to get our weekend fix of the grandson, we offer to keep him for a while Friday afternoon. During our time together, Micah finds out it is my birthday next weekend and immediately proclaims, “Grandpa! I know what I want for your birthday! I want a party barge with brownies and cupcakes and lots of fish everywhere!” Who knows where he came up with that concept, but it sounds like a good deal to me.
Saturday morning, I meet son and grandson at our usual boat launch, where a nearby meandering tributary of the Escambia River flows into the bay. For the first hour, we do only fishing and no catching (my normal modus operandi). Finally Micah convinces his dad to bait his Diego fishing pole (a kiddie pole about two feet long with four pound test line) with a stiff, long-dead minnow, one of many saved by Micah from a previous fishing trip, and bagged in a zip-lock baggie as a precious commodity. After a few minutes of trolling, the pole jerks a few times and Micah starts reeling it in as quickly as his little hands can create a repetitive, circular motion. He cranks and cranks on the tiny reel, and within less than a minute we spot a giant redfish on the end of his line. It takes out line a couple times, but amazingly he hangs onto the pole and continues cranking. We see the fish about three feet from the boat; it’s large, estimated 22-27 inches (the fish, not the boat). The net is readied by son, and we think this river monster is destined for the frying pan just before the 4-pound-test line breaks. Grandpa and son are more disappointed than grandson. Micah just smiles and exhales a big “Whew!”
Another dead minnow is acquired from Micah’s zip-lock treasure bag and baited on a jig head. Son rigs the tempting morsel on a sturdier grown-up pole, equipped with 40 # braided line and 30# mono-leader. Within a few minutes of trolling, the pole starts its up-and-down dance and Micah tries to pull in the fish but can’t handle the larger rig. Grandpa takes over the task with grandson’s robust approval, and within a minute or so a 22+ inch redfish is ours for the keeping. After landing the catch, Micah excitedly exclaims “Grandpa we had teamwork!” and we give each other a high five. A few more nice size speckled trout are landed, but the redfish have gone back to sleep; no one is disappointed, especially grandpa.
Micah looks up at the sky and says, “Grandpa! I see a dolphin in the sky. Do you see it?” I scan the shapes formed by the clouds, but have to honestly reply that I really don’t. Micah says, “I can see his face!” I have to think we may have a little artist on our hands. The clouds dissipate, but Micah’s enthusiasm doesn’t.
After a long period of trolling, Micah puts his Diego pole down on the bow of our little plastic boat. Son uses his fatherly voice and says, “Micah, put it back in the rod holder. A fish could pull it right out of the boat and into the water.”
Micah matter-of-factly states, “No Daddy, they’re not so strong.”
Son reiterates with a little more emphasis, “Micah, put it in the rod holder. A fish could pull it in.”
“No daddy, they’re not so strong.”
“Micah, do it now! You don’t know what size fish you might get. It might be small or a really big and strong one that can pull your pole in the water.”
“No, they aren’t so strong, daddy.”
Grandpa interrupts the dialogue and addresses son, “You know that you are getting payback." Son looks puzzled.
“What do you mean, payback?”
“I mean, your three-year old son already knows more than you do. Sound familiar?” Son just grins.
Back at the ranch (house), Peanut enjoys a peek and a sniff at the catch-of-the-day. Can we keep it? From the way she licks at it, you'd think she's either made a new friend...or developed a taste for sushi. Paws up and step away from the fish, cat!