|"Daddy, it's dirty."|
About what is important and what is not.
One very simple thing I've done is switched my "half" of Hank's day care "equation" with my son - instead of seeing him often for just a rushed 60-minute period in the mornings and for a few minutes right before bed, I now skip the mornings and pick him up from day care by 530pm, almost every day.
A great exercise now encapsulated in most every afternoon has been that of toddler whimsy. "Hey Bug, What Do You Want to Do Now?" Since my truck is fully geared up (aka "a nasty mess"), it means that we have what we need for a quick trip to our neighborhood lake, the community garden, or a quick run at the ball fields. This requires patience in itself, for three year olds are fickle beings.
|It takes a certain type of person to appreciate|
fishing a $200 fly rod alongside a $9 Spider Man rod
Hank is closing in on three. He's taller. Faster. So fast now, that he winds himself after exploding into the woods or down the shoreline of a pond. He takes direction, as long as it is provided beforehand, and calmly. And he wants to stick closer by. These are not things that I could have taught, but they make our time outdoors much easier for me, and no less fun for Hank. But it still requires patience.
First, we run. We explore. I carry all of the gear - and cookies in reserve.
|Hank's favorite spot at the lake (other than the fishing platform by the parking lot) is this sandy gully. |
It's out of the way from where we fish, but I always oblige his curiosity.
|Spot #2 for the win!|
If I listened to the seriously high quality fishing/parenting advice doled out to me by the likes of Mike Sepalak and Howard Levvitt, I might be farther ahead in learning how to fish with a toddler. But what fun would that be? Hopefully they'll both read this and see their advice reflected here.
I picked out two places to try fishing with Hank on this 95 degree evening. One was the mouth of the spring creek where I caught this bass a few months ago. Tons of fish. Great spot. The other spot was farther upstream in the spring creek, and where I'd never caught a respectable fish, but also never not caught a fish. If you follow.
The first spot was a bust. Knowing to minimize my gear for a toddler fishing trip, I had only a few hoppers and my 6'0" 5wt Cabela's TQR. Hey, late July, you know? However, the cover was way to thick to effectively cast - even roll cast - and Hank was bored almost instantly (equals rock throwing). The shoreline was muddy which provided Hank with quick amusement (getting dirty), immediately fading to frustration (wanting to not be dirty). With fish visible in the water, I abandoned the first spot after only about five minutes. Yup. That's how quick you have to be with the little guys and gals.
Spot #2 required a little pre-game conference about throwing rocks, listening to Daddy, and being careful on the rocks. Those conference call items did not go over well with Hank, who thought he was in trouble, despite my overly soft delivery. The little ones are touchy around dinnertime.
|Heckler / student|
Reaching deep into my vast well of parenting skills, I asked the tired but less frantic Hank, "Can you please sit on that rock if I give you some cookies?"
Hey, don't judge.
The action on sub-6 inch green sunfish was hot and heavy - a statement I'd be afraid to make in any other situation. In about 40 minutes of fishing Spot #2, I caught about 30 fish. Hank wanted to be in charge of letting each one go, which was great to see, if a bit perilous for the fish. Finally, it came.
"Daddy, I wanna go home."
That was good enough for me, so we headed back to the truck.
No big fish. No frowns. All big smiles.
|Yes, I know the kid is cuter. Thanks.|