high weir

July 3, 2006

The Young Man and the Crick

Filed under: Fatherhood — jstreed1476 @ 1:56 am

Like a lot of 6-year olds, Clay sometimes promotes a fun activity from “mild interest” to “consuming passion” without warning. This summer, fishing has gotten the nod. He asks every day if we can go.

Sadly, I am not an outdoorsman by nature. Despite a rural childhood spent scouting and in summer camp, despite a father who loves hunting, I’m basically an indoorsman. I like hiking, especially in fall and winter, and I’ll sit still to watch animals and listen to the woods without complaint. But I don’t have much Field & Stream cred; excepting insects, I’ve killed very few animals on purpose, and I haven’t dressed, cooked, or eaten any of them. My idea of a bad time is a nice day spent getting spurned by fish and fowl. You get the idea.*

BUT, a guy should step up for his kid, right? So a fishing license is in my future, as are early mornings creekside, slapping mosquitos and watching bobbers. Also, Candy, who loves fishing, got her license at the first hint of interest from Clay, so I’m feeling a bit left out. I think I still have the skills–I’ve never had a problem baiting hooks or anything like that–so the main thing to remember is: I’m fishing because I love Clay, not because I love fishing. And watching him do anything he loves–casting a line, playing a sport, eating noodles, whatever–is just fantastic.

BTW: The Iowa DNR has a great page on tips for fishing with kids. My favorite: “Leave your fishing rod at home.” It’s kind of sad when the dad catches a bunch and his son doesn’t get a nibble.

* I love Hemingway’s story, “The Big Two-Hearted River,” but for me it’s like a peek into another world. I mean, I suppose I can imagine making buckwheat pancakes over an open fire and slathering them with apple butter and wrapping them in wax paper for lunch on the river, and knowing that you have to grab the trout with a wet hand so you don’t wipe away the mucus that keeps their scales safe from infection. But then I’d be someone else, I guess.

1 Comment »

  1. great post, Jason

    (and i hope my children don’t fall for fishing ;-)

    Comment by Sean — July 8, 2006 @ 1:59 pm

  2. Meant to say something before now, but it’s good to have you back. Even if infrequent (and you’ve got nothing on me there), your posts are always worthwhile, and enjoyed.

    Comment by Aaron — July 12, 2006 @ 2:00 pm

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