Started spreading mulch Saturday morning, only to have the skies open up and start pouring within less than an hour. Instead of enduring a solid drenching in the name of lawn improvement, I covered the mulch with a tarp and went inside.
My 9-year old daughter asked about going to the local fishing derby. Although the rain had stopped, the weather was marginal at best. Undeterred, I grabbed my bream spinning rod, bought some worms at the local convenience store, and the two of us headed to the derby.
Somewhat to our surprise, there were only 3 or 4 families standing around the designated pond. This was a different experience from the usual, where I am shoulder to shoulder with other moms and dads, trying to convince a trout or panfish to take my worm instead of the 30 or so other options out there. A few other families showed up over time, but there was always plenty of room for everyone.
Luck was definitely with us. Over the next 2½ hours my daughter caught 22 panfish and perch. She fished through the rain and the cold (temps in the 40’s), only stopping when she needed new bait (for the record, she would not touch the fish or the worms). At one point I was actually standing over her with an umbrella while she landed fish (she only hooked my raincoat once).
Like any new angler she missed some strikes and had others that did not make it to the shore, but I was impressed that she was willing to work on her technique and by the end of the derby she was landing more fish than she was missing. I could see her casting improve as well as her ability to determine when to set the hook.
When I could no longer see the bottom of the 5 gallon bucket that we were using as a live well, I decided that we had probably caught our limit. She did not want to stop, but when I suggested that we could go look at the prizes and get a burger, she acquiesced.
I brought the bucket over and showed the judges, then released the fish back into the pond. She won the prize for the Most Fish Caught – a Cabelas light tackle spinning rod and reel along with a small tackle box consisting of rubber worms, bobbers and split shot. Not a bad prize – definitely better than the rig she was using.
Later in the day I returned to the mulch. She asked if I would help set up her new rig for some lawn casting. I happily obliged, and she was soon out on the front lawn preparing for her next derby.