Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First Fish

National Boating and Fishing Week starts this weekend and events are going on around the state and the country.  In preparation for the event, I planned to take my youngest child Cooper on his first fishing trip.  As Murphy’s Law would have it, I will be slaving away so I can put food on the table and pay the bills, so I had to plan our trip a little early.
Everyone with a child knows you have to build up the interest if the kid does not know exactly what will be going on.  My wife and I talked it up, and soon enough, Cooper was asking when we were going fishing.  I wanted it to be special, not just for that day, but for a lifetime.  I figured we would go to the old homestead and hit one of the areas I grew up on.  Cooper was an infant when my grandfather passed, so he knew nothing of the land I was raised.
In my earliest memories, I would spend days on end at the Wilson County Wildlife Club and Silver Lake Restaurant.  Mr. Barnes was in charge of the club then, and he kept an ever watchful eye on me.  They had an old john boat shelter, and if I was not fishing, I was in the boats looking for hooks, corks, and artificial lures.  In the old days (can I say that now?), parents did not have to worry where their kids were like now, and I had free reign to walk down to Silver Lake.  Usually around lunch time, I would go in the restaurant; they were not open for lunch, and see Mr. Dixon and Buck.  Nearly every day, Mr. Dixon would ask me what day it was, and without hesitation on my part, I would reply “It’s my birthday.”  Of course, my birthday was not anywhere close to the summer time, but Mr. Dixon would tell me to go grab a Sun Drop from the back and pick out a candy bar.  Marathon bars were my favorite back then.  I have no idea how Buck and his father, or Mr. Barnes put up with a 5 year old full of wonder who thought he had full rights to everything, but they did.
Back to the story at hand; I carried Cooper down to Silver Lake.  I showed him a few things, but the only thing on his mind was when we were going fishing.  I told him we would have to get permission first, and there were a couple of vehicles near the office at the restaurant.  We went to the door and knocked, and a lady motioned us in.  I explained my purpose and asked permission, and a familiar old voice hollered from around the corner, “No, you can’t fish out there!”
It was Buck Dixon, and we chuckled for awhile, exchanging a few stories.  Buck showed Cooper his tackle box he had bought not long ago-a Barbie box.  Cooper laughed.  This was as close to perfect to tying my younger days to Cooper’s first trip as could be.
Once we hooked a cricket on the line and tossed it in the water, it was not long and Cooper had his first fish.  Cooper has never been one to take a picture, but he posed with as much pride as I have ever seen.  We continued fishing for a little over an hour, Cooper occasionally allowing me to reel one in also.  I showed Cooper the different parts of the fish, and Cooper could not figure out why fish had teeth on the sides of their heads.  It took me a minute, but I figured out he thought the gills were teeth.  It was one of those days you wish you could relive over and over again, one where a child is learning, having fun, and in amazement.  And one in which you can go back to your younger days and remember when you were the same way.


  1. Sounds like Mallory's first fish. Took her to Wiggins Mill. I put the cricket on and dropped the line in the water for her. I turned to get a picture of her fishing and I heard, "Daddy, I think I got one". I helped her get it in. After that, it was hard to explain why she did not catch one every time she would cast the line.

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