Friday, May 11, 2012

Toddler Fishing v3.0

That's right, Dogg, I am straight up fishin' your lake with
my BPS Micro-Lite and my MARVEL Spider Man rods.
Tick, tick, BOOM!
Hank is growing up to endure fishing.   In most cases where he's been in attendance, I've caught fish.  Of the "small" and "not many" variety, specifically.   In 2010, at ten months old, he rode in the hiking pack while I fished for trout in western North Carolina's Swannanoa River.  In 2011 (he came with me several times), at twenty-two months old, he followed me along the cobble bars of Maryland's Gunpowder River and hucked sandstone cobbles into whatever deep, clear pool I was running a lure through.  Sigh.

Now he is two and a half years old.  He talks.  Constantly.  He had been asking for his own "Pishin' Pole" all winter (which is funny, because we say "rod" here....).  So I took him to the Sporting Goods Big Box store and let him pick out his first rod - a Shakespeare-made Spider Man rod.  I've tried to get him interested in casting and retrieving the line while we're in the back yard (the rod came with a convenient rubber fish to tie onto the end of the line), but Hank ran out the line around the yard and the rubber fish is now nowhere to be seen.  So, I said "OK, let's try actual fishing."

Even "keep the rod tip up while walking"
was a bit of a challenge.
Day care was closed one day, and we ended up in the neighborhood of "Fifty Dollar Lakes," and of course I brought his boots, a hat, sunblock, and even a PFD for the off-chance that we might get a call from a friend, and end up fishing on a boat.  I also had a little can of dried crickets for Hank's rod.  He was fascinated with the dead crickets, and as soon as I finished saying the words, "Do not dump out the crickets," the crickets were summarily dumped out.  Hank tried his best.  Already that day, he'd spent two hours in the garden with me, gone out for lunch, run around our work nursery/stockyard, and visited my office.  It was a lot of activity for such a little fella.  One of the first things we had to work on was trying to get him to not drag the tip of the rod, but also not wave the rod around like a sword.  That was a challenge.  Once we found a spot where he could safely get close to the water (under my supervision), he was all about it.  Bye bye, Pishin' Pole.

Favorite waterfront activity of all time.  Why do they throw rocks in the water???

"Daddy, daddy! DWAGONFWY! Gonna get me!"

"Daddy, I wanna kiss it."

The pre-meltdown yawning should have alerted me - our time was up.
Oops.  Missed that one. 

Recovered from waterfront yawning, but lost a boot.  Also announced "Daddy, I dwank the lake!"

Having a bit of a hard time.  Wants to put boots on, but boots are wet.  
Doesn't want to wear wet boots.  

Shirt and boots tossed in the lake, shorts covered in lake mud.  Getting held by Daddy equals averted meltdown. 

30 mile ride home in a diaper and the air conditioning.  Toddler life ain't so bad. 
I pretty much assumed that the exercise would be a debacle, and it was - at least for fishing.  Of course I caught some fish (have we met?) but it wasn't idyllic or easy.  Hank is definitely interested in the water (which I knew) and is definitely not scared of the dragonflies, fish, crickets, etc., which I didn't really know.   My decision to take him to a place where there are almost no anglers and no dogs was a good one, and it was by design that the same place also has a few toddler-friendly shoreline areas (i.e. not a rip rap wall).  The next time I take Hank fishing, I won't bother rigging up his Spiderman rod - he's more interested in everything else going on around him.   A lot of lessons for a short fishing outing!


Map Monkey said...

awww!! He's so adorable! I'm sure this was better than any ole fishing-by-yourself day.....

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for awhile, but this is the first time I've been motivated to comment. As a father of five, I have had nearly identical experiences numerous times. Hang in there. In a few years, he'll be the one dragging you out to the lake and bragging about outfishing his old man.


Kirk Mantay said...

JAM, you'll get a kick out of him the next time you see him. He has a lot to say, mostly about dinosaurs, Batman, ketchup, and chocolate milk.

Josh - thanks for the kind words. I have pretty minimal expectations for how it'll go in the near term (next 2 years). I want him to be happy and comfortable near the water. I want him to enjoy going. The fishing will come....with time.

My usual criteria for success are:
1) did Hank have a good time?
2) did I catch at least one fish?

Affirmative on both!! Success!

The Reverend Fowl ™ said...

Our 3 year old has a Barbie rig. We fish the Mississippi, Lord knows what’s down in that water.

Michael Agneta said...

What a fun post. Love that picture of Hank crying about the boots.

cofisher said...

Great them. He'll laugh later about them and then smile while remembering.

Kirk Mantay said...

Rev - I did a post about 3 years ago that showed a guy in NC who reeled in the new state record channel cat on his daughter's barbie rod. No joke. And recently, I was rod shopping and noticed that the pink St. Croix rods were 30% off, and I almost bought one. Almost.

Mike - Thanks. The boot debacle was pitiful but funny. I couldn't get through to him that I did not have an extra, identical set of dry boots. He was so disappointed every time he put them back on and they were still sopping wet!

Howard - he loves looking at them even now. Tonight he picked up my phone and said, "I wanna see Henrys." He knows how to flip through the photos on the Android. AT TWO YEARS OLD....???!!!

Feather Chucker said...

Haha Awesome post. I'm still wondering when the right time to have my daughter fish. About your why do they throw rocks question. I have at a bunch of similar ones. How come you can have 5000000 peices of paper in the house for your kids to draw on only to notice all of your walls have writing on them. Are they marking their territory?

argosgirl said...

Hahaha wonderful post! The pictures are priceless and I admire your criteria for a successful trip.

Kirk Mantay said...

Kevin, yeah our little one goes rogue on the coloring front as soon as your take your eyes off of him. "Aww he's coloring the coloring book OH NO LAPTOP SCREEN!" Little devils.

On the question of when to start with the little ones? There are a thousand different opinions on that one. Some parents start heavy with their kids in the backpacks before age 1, and other parents won't start until the kids are able to cast a fly rod, around age 4. I have no idea.

AG -

Kirk Mantay said...

AG - thanks for stopping in! I am an environmental project manager 40-60 hours per week, and the top priority for any project (even before fundraising) is to establish:

#1. What is the goal of this project?

#2. How will we know if we are successful?

If my outdoor outing includes Hank, I know we will be on the move - no stopping for 20 minutes to find salamanders under a log. I know he will get dirty. I know he will disturb the otherwise quiet outdoors. I know that if we are near the water, he will get wet, which means eventually, I will get wet too.

You just go into it knowing certain facts, and if you get a good time/good memories, a couple of fish, and a few good photos out of it, how could that not be a good deal?? :)

Alana said...

He is so cute! You have to be patient! He is two no wonder all he wants is to throw rocks in the water.Give him some time.

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