Teaching a Girl to Fish

My fishing 🎣 adventure as an adult begins. But a little background is necessary…I loathed camping ⛺️ and 🎣 fishing growing up. My Dad would take all of us and my sisters loved it (thus their college degrees in Wildlife [and Ellen’s is specifically Fisheries]) and I just tolerated it after a while but enjoyed the family time. I hated touching the fish if I happened to catch one (which was rarely) and I didn’t understand the appeal of fishing anyway. 

Fast forward to now, I live just a few steps from a pond and two creeks. So, last Monday, Jude’s friend Karson was over for the day. He is an avid outdoorsman and so we went fishing. He taught me how to put a hook on my line and tie a polymer knot. He taught me how to attach a bobber. He caught grasshoppers and crickets to use as bait and told me what kind of fish we were catching.  He is 8.  Jude came along but was not enthusiastic about it. I caught a few fish that day but didn’t want to touch them. 

But I must mention how awful last Monday began for me. I woke up to our puppy having pooped and peed her kennel and had the joy (not) of cleaning it up by myself while everyone else was sleeping.  Then I was so agitated that I snapped at everyone for most of the morning. I had two meltdowns, cried, and had to yell into a pillow a couple of times. Needless to say, I had to be convinced to fish because it was hot outside and I hadn’t had a good beginning to the day. But after fishing with the boys I felt so good. It was a nice feeling. 

Yesterday we went fishing again and PJ joined us on snake patrol with his shotgun (Happy Fathers Day, my sweet hubby). The mosquitoes were in full effect but before they ate us all up I caught a fish in the creek and I touched it because I was the only one who was going to do it. (Side note: PJ was not there yet, it was just Maddy, Jude, and me and neither of those two were going to release the little fish.)  We released it into the pond because we had to get away from the mosquitoes. The creek is shaded and lovely and the mosquitoes love it. The pond is an algae covered mess but it is full of sun perch and blue gill. I caught about 4 more fish there and I touched each one to remove the hook (with one small exception)!   AND I caught grasshoppers to use as bait!!  What?!  Yes, this city girl that used to hate fishing is tromping through thigh high grass catching grasshoppers to squish onto a hook (“through the mouth and out the butt” as Karson says) and toss into a mossy, algae-covered pond. 

This is a big deal for me because it’s way out of my wheelhouse but I like it. It’s a quiet pastime (if you don’t take Jude) and it’s thrilling to catch the little fish. 

I may not have appreciated the lessons my Daddy taught me about fishing when I was growing up, but they stuck with me, like paddling a canoe, and stoking a fire. They’re just things hung around instinctively and I’m glad they did. 

I’m grateful my Dad took us on those simple campouts. They weren’t fancy but they were special. They run together in my memory but gems stick out and apparently so do instructions from Dad on the basics of fishing. 

You know that saying about teaching a man to fish instead of doing it for him? My Dad did both for me growing up, he taught me to cast the line, he took the fish off the hook, gutted them, filleted them, etc. BUT…he still taught me to 🐟 fish 🎣.  

My Daddy is the Man, the Myth, the Legend, and I love him to pieces. Happy Fathers Day Daddy. 

My sister told me this is a pumpkinseed sunfish. It’s so pretty!

A little warmouth I caught in the creek.

I caught this one in the creek while mosquitoes were biting me through my shirt! Isn’t it cute?

A blurry fish selfie (is that a felfie?) because this thing was big and squirmy. Pretty sure it was a pregnant one because of the big belly. The hook was way down in the mouth so I needed help getting it out. But wow, I held her while PawPaw removed the hook. Happy Fathers Day to PawPaw too!

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