Over the past couple of years we’ve taken day trips to visit my cousin in southern CT. The Norwalk River flows through his property into a nice but rather shallow pool. The abundance of sunfish makes for an easy day of fishing for my two daughters, while we get a chance to catch up.
Unfortunately it was rather cold yesterday and we came back with a big zero for number of fish caught. Both of the girls were real troopers, but in the end the chilly temps and lack of action put an end to the outing.
There was also unfortunate event of significance – the Barbie rod broke. Yes, that Barbie rod. The rod that I’d used to teach both of my girls how to fish. It was easy to pack, easy to untangle, and caught many panfish over the years. Although I mostly fly fish these days, there’s something to be said for a bobber, split shot, worms and a small hook, especially when working with young kids.
Despite my best efforts to repair it, it could not be saved. Later I unceremoniously shoved it into the garbage can. Momentarily I considered burying it in the back yard while listening to Taps on my mp3 player, but I already have too much yard work to do.
On the way home my youngest daughter kept asking me for a new rod to replace the broken Barbie rod. I told her we would go shopping soon, but the end of the season was coming and we’d probably try to find a replacement next spring. Until then she could use one of my circa 1995 bream rods. Real antiques by her estimation.
As luck would have it, we were stopping on the way home to do some birthday shopping for my wife. My daughters, both amateur con artists who know how to play their father like a fine violin, found a store in the mall that had a limited inventory of tackle. The younger daughter quickly seized on a combo unit that contained an Ugly Stick, bright red Shakespeare reel and various lures, weights and hooks.
No sooner had I reluctantly said yes to the purchase for the younger daughter when the older one stepped up and pointed out that she was a little short on tackle, even though she only goes with me a couple of times a year. Fair is fair, so she walked out with some shad lures. It’s amazing how they can leverage a trip to find birthday cards into an acquisition opportunity.
Last night we put the rig together. Then the girls proceeded to trade and compare tackle, much like silly bands. This morning I spent a couple hours in the back yard teaching the younger daughter how to cast, then off to the local lake with both girls for the rod’s inauguration.
The first hour was uneventful. The older girl kept getting hung up in the trees and grass with her new lures, while the younger one only managed to cast a distance of 12 feet using a bait setup and yesterday’s worms. It was chilly and windy, but I decided to try one more spot on the mouth of a nearby cove before we left. That was the trick.
Almost as soon as we arrived, the younger girl caught her first bream on the new rod. And by the time she had caught four, my oldest daughter decided to abandon her lure and switch to worms as well.
Three hours later we walked back through the woods. Each girl had caught a handful of fish, and my hands were smelly and sticky from baiting hooks and removing fish. I have to give them credit – each one of them at least tried to bait a hook and remove a fish before they became totally grossed out. Funny, they are already asking me about going back again this week after school.
I’m sure that there will come a day in the not-too-distant future when they will have little or no interest in going fishing with me, but until that day comes, I’ll continue to bait hooks, remove fish and buy tackle as requested. Who knows, they may even pick up a fly rod. Enjoy!