Thursday, July 9, 2015

Henry's First Fish

I had been eager to take my nephew, Henry, fishing since the day he was born. My wife and I strategically planted the fishing seed on his first Christmas. We gave him a custom fishing book that told the story of him going fishing with his uncle (Me), and catching a monster fish. His parents read that book to him frequently, and by the time he was talking in full sentences, one of them included: "I want to go fishing!"
This year for his third birthday I got him a fishing rod. The time had come, and this Fourth of July, my dad and I headed over to my sisters house to get Henry and take him fishing.

We loaded Henry up in the car and headed to a local pond I knew would be loaded with bluegill. Henry was very excited when we got there and he couldn't wait to use his new fishing rod.

We made sure Henry was safe by putting a life jacket on him. Henry grabbed his tackle box and he and Grandpa walked to the pond.

I rigged Henry's rod up with a bobber and a small bead head fly. We walked up to the pond and I was pleasantly surprised to see a school of bluegill staring at us. I knew this would be easy.

I casted the bobber out into the middle of the pond and showed Henry how to hold the fishing rod and reel the handle. Henry started reeling and bringing the bobber and fly back towards the bank and through the large school of bluegill. Immediately, about 10 bluegill started to chase the fly. It wasn't long before one grabbed the fly and Henry was reeling in his first fish.
"Henry you got one!" I said with lots of excitement.
"EeeeHeeee!" Henry squeaked and jumped as the little fish thrashed on the surface.
I grabbed the line and had Henry hold up the fish for a picture.   

"Ok put it back." Henry said as he pointed to the water. "I want to catch another one!"
Grandpa walked over and helped Henry this time. It wasn't long before Henry was reeling in another fish.

Henry was having lots of fun reeling in small bluegill.

After reeling in about 6 bluegill, Henry seemed to be getting distracted by other things around the pond. To keep his interest, we decided to go for a walk around the pond.

Henry carried his rod while we walked. A mother duck and her ducklings pushed off of the shore and Henry wanted to cast the rod at them. We urged him on towards another pond. 

We reached the other pond and found a clean area on the bank to cast.
"I'm a fisherman!" Henry said as he tried to cast the rod.
I helped him cast the bobber out into the puddle sized pond and handed him the rod. Henry reeled as fast as his little hands could reel, which was no match for the speed of the bluegill. A small bluegill charged after his fly and devoured it. Henry reeled the little guy in and held him up for a picture. 

Henry caught a couple more bluegill before we decided to move on.

"I'm the best fisherman!" Henry said as we walked back to the spot we first started fishing.
"Yes you are Henry. You're are an amazing fisherman." Grandpa said patting Henry on the head.

I wanted Henry to see a large fish, so I knew I needed to catch a bass. I rigged a plastic worm, wacky style on another rod and spotted a 15 inch bass cruising the shore. I made a cast and let the worm flutter down in front of the fish. A little quiver of the rod tip brought the worm to life and the bass charged it, engulfing the worm. I set the hook and brought the bass in and held it up to show Henry.

Henry was excited to see the large fish and was eager to touch it.
"Woa, big fish." Henry said staring at the bass.

I released the bass and I could tell that it was time to leave.
"Henry, shall we go get some ice cream?" Grandpa asked.
"Yeah! Yeah! Lets get ice cream!" Henry said practically throwing his rod down.
"Ok, lets go get some." Grandpa said grabbing Henry's rod near the shoreline.
Henry grabbed his tackle box and flexed it over his head. "I'm strong!" 

We got into the car and made our way back towards Henry's home.
"Henry, I can't remember, but, were we suppose to get something on our way home?" Grandpa said looking into the rearview mirror at Henry in the backseat.
"Ice cream! We were going to get ice cream!"
"I don't think we should Henry, I don't really like ice cream."
"But I do!"
"Grandpa is just kidding Henry. Tell Grandpa he's not funny." I chimed in.
"Grandpa you're not funny!" Henry said with a big smile.

We finally arrived at the ice cream place and got a few small cones of soft serve ice cream. 

Henry had apparently never eaten ice cream out of a cone before and Grandpa had to show Henry how to do it properly.

When we arrived at Henry's home, Henry grabbed his fishing rod and headed directly to the backyard pool and began fishing.

It had been a successful first fishing trip. Henry had caught fish right away and we kept his interest. We only spent about 30 minutes at the pond; which is plenty for a three year old. Hopefully this is the beginning of a lifelong passion for Henry. A sport that he and his uncle can enjoy together for many years.