For anyone who’s never fished with a kid, it can best be described as a nonstop lesson in fish biology and casting practice, and a refresher in tangle management.
LIKE most parents, I worry my kids spend too much time with electronic gadgets. So when my 9-year-old son looked up from his iPhone game and said, “Dad, can we go fishing?” my response was an immediate, “Heck, yes.”
An unusually rainy spring might have influenced my response. But, truth be known, the real reason for my excitement was that he had come up with the idea himself, and it was something that involved the outdoors and no electronic gadgets.
For anyone who’s never fished with a kid, it can best be described as a nonstop lesson in fish biology and casting practice, and a refresher in knot and tangle management.
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Pine Lake in Sammamish, a 25-minute drive from Seattle, made sense for us. We checked off the list of things we’d need: Fishing poles (I had one in the garage), licenses (no need for kids under 12), hooks and bait (none in the garage), bobbers, line, sinkers and a net. Once we had our list, we hit Outdoor Emporium. We found our desired tackle, a new spinning rod, plus all the necessary gear. The trip set me back about $35, and with my license ($20), we were ready.
I promised my son Andrew we’d catch at least one fish.
The lake’s new dock is big enough for dozens of fishermen, and we joined about 20 others. I showed Andrew how to bait a hook with “Power Bait” — a stinky, man-made concoction that actually works — and attach a sinker. Eventually a spot opened up on the dock that was prime for casting into deeper water. “Game on,” I thought to myself.
Andrew wanted to reel in and check his hook about one minute after each cast. I explained that fishing is often a bit slower than shooting aliens in a video game. We waited. After about 10 minutes of “should-we-reel-in” comments from Andrew, we got our first bite. He pulled up too quickly, and the fish was gone. After a bit more waiting, we got hit again. This time the fish was hooked. “Careful,” I said. “Don’t pull too hard, and reel slowly.”
A few minutes later, we had the fish on the dock and Andrew was all smiles. We stayed for another hour and caught two more. It was a memorable morning and, amazingly, Andrew was completely occupied the entire time without anything electronic.
My take? The lure of electronic gadgets and social media on kids is powerful. However, some traditional outdoorsy activities like fishing can still command their attention.