Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fair-weather Festivities Featuring First Fish

The first stellar weather weekend of the year. 63 fantastic degrees with just enough breeze to ring the chimes and just enough clouds to make you appreciate the sun. Everyone and their mom in Southern New England did work in the yard this weekend and we were no exception.

We got a bunch of stuff accomplished (still lots to do)...the biggest of which was to anchor and re-top our dock. Previously, our dock was attached at the shoreline and floated with the help of huge Styrofoam blocks. Now, it's secured with 4x4's dug down into the lake floor (special props to my dad, "The Toe" for spending 2+ hours waist-deep in the frigid April water while we got things level). Gavin thought it would be a good idea to go swimming....so we let him....his adventure invariably ended about 2.6seconds later in tears and goosebumps. We also replaced the old wooden decking (also known around here as "Splinter Central") with some composite decking....no more splinters.....ever. Despite the fact that I'm a ninja with a pair of tweezers...I'm grateful that the splinter ratio is going to drop dramatically around here this Spring/Summer.

Which brings me to our epic moment of the weekend. Gavin caught his first fish today. Now, before I show you a picture of this lunker....a bit of a back story:

As you know...I grew up on this water...I know every stellar fishing spot, every shallow spot, every sand bar, every dead spot. As a kid, I fished this water almost every day that there wasn't ice covering the surface of it. Bass, calico's, horned pout, yellow perch, white perch, pickerel, blue gills, sunnies, carp...I have literally pulled hundreds, if not thousands of fish out of this lake in my lifetime. In 1992, I moved away. In 2001, I moved back. But I didn't fish. At all. I'm not quite sure why.

I know that at some point I went through a "fishing is cruel" phase. I'm not sure what prompted it, but my general attitude was that I was deriving entertainment by causing physical and mental anguish to another living thing. Now...if I were fishing to feed my family, that would be one thing, but I was a catch-and-release guy all those years. I read journal articles and test results with titles like "Do fish feel pain?"...on both sides of the argument. Fishing became something that I just didn't do anymore. Until today.

Earlier this year, I looked at my son...here's a boy, a country boy...a mud-loving, dirt-eating, frog-in-his-pocket country boy. Country boys need to know how to fish....both on general principle and because there may be a point in time that he may need that skill to provide food for his family. He's 4 years old....it was time.

We were given a rod and reel from a family friend....I took off the reel and attached a 5 foot length of fishing line to the end of the rod...kind of like a bamboo pole...Huck Finn-style. We dug up a few juicy night crawlers from the garden, baited our hook, dropped that baby off the dock and within seconds....BAM:



Gavin's first fish. Now...don't under-estimate this lunker...he was a fighter....4 inches of fin-waving fury!!

We caught 5 or 6 in all today...all blue gills:






Ivy told us that she wanted to give the fish a kiss....this is as close as she was willing to get:


I still haven't come to a conclusion as to whether catch-and-release fishing is cool or cruel....but with the kids...it sure was fun. Suffice it to say that we rocked the new dock in style this weekend and had a blast outside enjoying God's wonderful creations.

Hope that you and yours had some outside fun this weekend as well.

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