For you and me, a big burbot is likely more hassle than fun, but to my son, Pierce, catching an 8-pound 'pout the other day was a lifetime highlight.
Maybe Pierce understands things better than the two of us.
A little over ten years ago I sat in the nursery of a local hospital holding a little dude wrapped in blue and featuring tiny ears and neck pads. I knew little of Down Syndrome back then, so my questions where broad and scattered. Will he be healthy? How is Karen going to react to the news? Will he ever talk? Fish? Play baseball?
In the years since, most of my questions were answered, and then some. I also realized that Pierce was the teacher, not me. He taught me to celebrate the little things, like catching an eelpout or that a wriggling minnow in your hand does tickle.
I also learned much about sharing the sport that I love, especially those that lack patience ... like Pierce. I've found it makes sense to invest in quality tackle when buying gear for kids as it performs better, lasts longer and makes the overall experience better for everyone.
I also learned that catching fish was not the most important goal of the trip—having fun is. Pierce finds more joy in learning how to cast ("Like Dad") than having me hand him a bucking rod. I also learned that numerous short trips are better than one long one—and snacks are important.
Great information, but as we left for Minnesota's Lake of the Woods last week to fish with my good friend Scott Boos and his wife Vickie, I secretly wondered if Pierce could handle two full days on the ice.
Scott runs one of the best guide services (nwaguideservice.com) on Lake of the Woods, specializing in multi-species trips summer or winter, so I figured if Pierce got bored catching walleyes we could target giant crappie, pike, lake trout, or even whitefish.
The big 'pout hit a spoon while we were catching crappie and was so heavy he couldn't lift the rod tip. I assumed at the time he had hooked a big walleye because we had already landed several that morning, but the headshakes looked wrong. When the big pout's head appeared in the hole I laughed as Pierce welcomed it with an emphatic "Ewwww" and wouldn't go near it for the next half hour. But on the trip home he shared with everyone the story of his big 'pout and I realized then, maybe I should treasure more things than I actually do.—Steve