Truth be told, I am always looking for a good excuse to avoid doing chores around the house, and his request was exactly what the doctor ordered. I explained to my wife that it was the perfect opportunity for some quality father-and-son time. I was going to teach Taylor the finer points of catching summer crappies.
I rounded up the necessary equipment for our adventure: three graphite rods with the latest spinning reels (two rigs for me), my 40-pound tackle box, a stringer for all the fish we'd catch, a six-pack of pop, sandwiches, several bags of chips, some candy and a bag of cookies.
We loaded the pickup and headed for the bait shop. There, we purchased six dozen minnows. My motto is that it's better to have too many than not enough.
We arrived at my "no-longer-a-secret" fishing hole around 4 p.m., and found about 20 other anglers. We walked across the bridge and down a bank covered with large chunks of rock. I set up two rods with bobbers and one with a jig. After 15 minutes without a bite, but what must have seemed like several hours to Taylor, he embarked on more promising activities such as exploring, throwing rocks, playing in the water, snacking and bringing junk others had left behind.
Unexpectedly, the fish wouldn't bite anything we offered, and Taylor's enthusiasm was waning until he found a 3-foot piece of fishing line with a large rusty hook and gigantic sinker still attached. "Daddy, can I fish with this?"
Flabbergasted, I inquired why. His answer was typical for a 6-year old, "because." After some quick talking I was able to convince him to forget about fishing with the short line and huge hook. Ten minutes later he found another treasure, a broken wooden bobber. He asked me to put it on the line with the old hook and sinker. I explained that you can't catch fish using broken odds and ends.
Meanwhile, I continued waiting for a bite and he continued searching the area. He soon came up to me with about 20 feet of 60-pound, green braided fishing line. He instructed me to tie this to the section of line with the hook and sinker, and add the bobber, so he could fish. It was obvious I was fighting a losing battle so I joined in on his fun. I asked him if he wanted me to tie the whole apparatus to a stick to use as a pole. Much to my chagrin, he declined, but asked me to put on a minnow and throw it into the water. I honored his request.
As the sun disappeared, Taylor sat with his fingers clenched around the rotten line that led to the fishing junk. I couldn't help but marvel at the wisdom of a 6-year-old, not to mention his focus and patience. Suddenly, Taylor yelled he had a bite, but I informed him that it was pretty close to impossible and that he was probably just snagged the bottom.
Never one to take "no" for an answer, he persisted. Begrudgingly, I put my rod down and walked over to the big rock on which he was perched. To my amazement the line began to move and it became evident that there was indeed a fish on the other end. Taylor was beside himself with excitement as we pulled in his first crappie.
As things turned out, Taylor left with his fish and when we returned home he was surprisingly diplomatic about it. "Mom, look what WE caught!"
This experience proved what I've always known—fancy equipment and catching limits of fish are not the reason, I love to go fishing.