Thursday, February 14, 2013

Third Time's the Charm

We have been talkng about it for several years but the work/home schedule had never worked out. Over the last few weeks, I made some effort to get on Jack's schedule to get him on the ice for the first time. The previous two times, the weather dashed our hopes. This third attempt was almost done in as well. My wife was unexpectedly notified at the last moment by her employer expecting her to be in Cambridge the very day Jack and I were making ice fishing plans. We thought about hitting up Simcoe for lake trout and whitefish in the morning with the fallback "guarantee" for perch if we did not fare well early on.

Local it was. Being a cherry busting trip for Jack, I wanted to ensure he got action. With my son able to wrestle up a few days earlier, it was obvious that we should return to the same ice grounds. With a comfortable start to the day ( 9am-ish), we got to the pond. I was fairly certain it had not lost any ice, just the snow on top having truned to slush. I was close, the snow was a thin layer but there was not much slush. It was pure H2o on top of the ice!! It was gonna be one wet day if we were clumsy and not mindful of things.

Jack set up with the flasher and immediately marked fish on the bottom two feet of the column. He got a hit shortly after adjusting to the depth but he had that steelheader hook set which usually rips the jig right out. I drilled my hole about seven yards away and found them along bottom as well. Trick for me was that I had on a smaller jig. We quickly switched Jack over. That was the ticket. He was " on like Donkey Kong" the rest of the day.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's time ..........

Raising your children is may be the biggest of challenges any parent will face in life.  The more one reads up on this, the greater this may seem to be. They say nurses and doctors can be the worst people when it comes to the health of their own. Because of their knowledge and experiences, they can be overly cautious and preventative, some to an OCD level. We (my wife and I) try to give our kids the best we can afford and I am not just referring to this as financially but also to that of sacrificing a little more personally so they are happy.  A happy disposition can open up positive learning and creativity in them.
Brandon has been asking me for close to two years to take him ice fishing. I had not felt he was ready from all perspectives. Many dads almost force fishing on their children and some kids will take to it while with others, they end up disliking it into adulthood. This past Saturday I finally decided he was ready to take to the ice. He began to show a real interest in fishing over the summer, casting stick baits and drifting worms to smallmouth.

Gung ho he was. So much so that he had the sled down the hill and making his way along the path to the ice before I could zip up my float suit. As I gave him the safety protocol, he only questioned the ice once. We assured him that he would not be allowed out until we confirmed there was at least a six inch thickness of ice. I went out first and checked it.
He soon followed, pulling with all he could. The recent snow storm blanketed the pond and we were shin high. It’s good to know there is a new gear mule on the scene.

When we reached “the spot”, I immediately punched a hole and dropped a jig and wax worm to the bottom for him. A second rod was set up just in case. He wanted to use the flasher.

Who was I to deny such enthusiasm! 

With a quick tutorial, he picked it up with little hesitation. It was like a video game to him. As I drilled a second hole (about 10 yards away), he was putting a bend in the short rod.

He had just iced his first fish, ever. As I took a capture for the memories, I think the grin on my face was as large as his.

For the next little while, he would switch between rods and holes running and gunning for those panfish. There was even a bit of light cursing each time he would miss the bite or lose one on the way up.

There were a few instances where he reeled so hard, I thought for sure there would be burst bladders hanging out of the mouth or just a set of fish lips on the end of the jig.

Introducing something of which we are passionate about to our children requires tremendous patience and effort. One would be foolish to assume they will automatically like it or pick it up right away.
While the fish under us were moving around in pods and many of them having lock-jaw, the focus on what to do with him became a spontaneously different task. I was not quite prepared for this and eventually frustration and boredom deflated him and watching a colored screen and jigging had lost its appeal.

Taking breaks in the pop up got old. Add to this, his hands were cold from having his gloves off, the slime that started to dry and harden and his feet were chilling uncomfortably, it was time to call it a successful outing.  As I packed up, Brandon filled in the holes we had drilled.

He pulled the gear back along the path we came out, all the way to the bottom of the hill. I was very impressed and proud of him on this day. I think part of me was patting myself on the back for deciding to commit to make this work out the best I could. He never once talked sports, of his hockey playoffs or how his soccer team will fare this summer. For a few hours, most of what engulfs his daily life was not present. He didn’t even pull out his iPod.