Monday, April 14, 2014

Toddler Fishing 5.1 "Stay Where I Can See You"

Picked the little guy up from preschool and asked him my favorite of warm-weather questions, "Hey, what do you wanna do now?"  He said, "The farm with the log playground I can climb on!!!"  He was referring to our local Irvine Nature Center's "Natural Play Space," which is an awesome place indeed.  I knew it'd be a 20+ minute drive there in rush hour traffic, so we stopped and got a few snacks and drinks.

Unfortunately, we pulled into the spot around 5:45pm and there was a chain across the driveway "Open 9 to 5."  Hank asked, "Just drive the truck around it."  Good boy!  No, we didn't do that.

He was in the beginning stages of a toddler meltdown when we pulled away, so I really had to scramble.  Out there in Baltimore's ex-urbs, there's not much public land at all.  All the playgrounds are "community only," which is kind of funny, because kids never play on them.   Possibly because they expect to see the same eight kids there every day.  Anyway, we were running low on daylight (about 90 minutes remaining) and it occurred to me that we were fairly close to our most local state WMA, Gwynnbrook.  It's kind of a crap property, covered in invasive plants, resident geese and throngs of deer, but it does have a pond that is well mowed.  The pond also contains residual fish from stocking efforts, since Gwynnbrook serves as the regional office for many of the state's wildlife and fish technicians assigned to the area.   Somebody, somehow, introduced the Chinese mystery snail to the pond, which is kind of disturbing as well....

But, it was there.  Time to be set free....



Hank was disappointed in the lack of elaborate created log structures but made do with some trees that the technicians hadn't cut out of the path yet (really? that's a thing in park management?).

I didn't  honestly think I'd get any real fishing done, but I grabbed my rod out of the truck, with the single lure (2" chartreuse powerbait grub) still rigged up from the previous weekend.  Ehhh.  Why not.

As Hank outpaced me, sprinting around the pond, I had to keep hollering at him to stay close enough so I could see him (again, this is maybe a one acre oval pond, so he wasn't going anywhere).  But he also did something new, as I tried to keep popping into shoreline spots to cast...."Daddy! I see a bunch of fish here!  Catch these fish!"   He was scouting for me! HA!  At one point, he ran over the berm, onto the lower side of the valley where I couldn't see him.  He didn't go far - in fact he stopped as soon as he realized he had gone too far....and this is what he was doing as he waited for me to catch up...


Believe it or not, I did actually catch a few fish - all sunfish, unfortunately - but given the time constraint, lack of site choice, and diversion of my attention WAY away from fishing, it was all good.  Hank got to reel in a pumpkinseed and touch it, and also got to "call" a pair of resident geese into the roost, shortly before running away in fear when the spring peepers' calls suddenly erupted out of the wet ground surrounding him.  All in all, it was one big fish short of a perfect evening.



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