Thursday, July 16, 2009

Family Milestone: Gone Fishin'

Not one to squander a rare day off work, Shaun decided that July 3 would be a perfect day to take the boys fishing for the first time.

A boy's first fishing trip is not something to be undertaken lightly. There were two primary considerations: 1. We should go somewhere where we know people are catching fish. 2. The fish we catch should be fish we want to eat.

After some online investigating, Shaun settled on Mayfield Lake. This was a risky move; the lake is an hour and a half away, so we didn't have the opportunity to scout it out and see if there was a suitable place to fish from the shore with the boys. But what the heck. Armed with Pringles, beef jerky, power bait, and cheap Wal-Mart fishing poles, we set off in the late afternoon.

In a few ways, the big ways, we totally lucked out. After tramping along a trail for a little longer than we'd anticipated, we found a perfect spot. It was about 8 feet above the water's surface on a narrow, shady arm of the lake, a spot that we could tell people usually jumped from. It was pretty steep to get down to, and it dropped off very precipitously, so Shaun and I were on high alert the whole time, making sure nobody tripped over a tree root and went into the drink.

There were a few things it would have behooved us to have thought through more thoroughly in planning our outing. We arrived at dinner time, and our snacks didn't quite cut it. The lake was more isolated than we'd anticipated, so we didn't have the opportunity to run out for food. We didn't end up eating dinner until 10:30 that night.

Our plan was to fish at dusk, when the fish are biting. Of course they're biting then; that's when the bugs are out. And biting. And us without our bug dope. Poor Nels got the worst of it with bites all over, including a spectacular one on his chest that looked like a third nipple. I got a wicked bite on my calf that caused my leg to swell up just a bit and then go numb. The mosquitoes left Willem alone entirely, which confirms my perception of exactly how sweet he is these days.

Despite the hungry tummies, and the itching, and the perpetual low-level complaints of boredom, we had a lot of fun. Shaun pointed out that the setting looked a lot like the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. With the boats full of passengers filing by, pointing at the tableau we made up on the bank, it definitely added to the amusement park attraction atmosphere.

Most glorious of all, the fish were biting. We had an ideal spot. We could look over the edge of the bank and SEE the fish swimming in the shade and jumping out for bugs. And they were all tasty rainbow trout.

Nels catches the first fish of the day! And of his life!

We were catching so many fish that there was a lot of down time while Shaun took care of all the keepers. He had a stringer in the water, but getting down to the water was a lot of work.

Serious business.

Dinner! More than once!

We didn't get home until midnight. Nels fell asleep on the stairs and I went right to bed. Our fearless leader stayed up and cleaned and photographed the fish. We had a lot of fun taking them to grandma and grandpa's to show off and share for dinner on the 4th.

I don't anticipate ticking off any more milestones this summer. That's OK with me. I'm expecting Family Milestone: First Day of Kindergarten to be a doozy.


shaun said...

Ahem, they were not "cheap Walmart fishing poles" but modest-quality, Big 5 fishing rods which just happened to be on sale and which will last us a good many fishing trips (and fish!) well into the future. Ahem.

Gypmar said...

My bad. I didn't realize Big 5 was still in business.

annie nannie said...

So much fun! Love your stories. Sorry for all the nasty bug bites. Interesting that Willem didn't get bit much. Here again, another similarity to Dad. Mosquitos tended to leave him alone, for the most part. Dad always figured it was due to a time that he was ploughing with a team of 8 horses and was bit by a whole storm of bugs. He couldn't drop the 16 reins to swat them away. He wondered if he may have developed a sort of immunity ... he just wasn't too tasty to the bugs, any more.

How'd you cook the fish? Looks like fun!

Mullins said...

Looks like great fun! It DOES look like the Jungle Cruise.

kylee said...

yea! What a storybook summer!