The Joys of Fishing with the Kids

by Keith Sarasin (c) 2001

Have you ever wondered why some fathers do not take the kids fishing with them?

All that prime bonding time they could be spending together. Enjoying each other's company and developing a close friendship that will last a lifetime together.

Well, let me tell you about my experience with the kids. First, let's go back a few years.

John has been my fishing partner for years. We have fished nearly every body of water in Ontario, winter and summer. Cold weather sees us out on a frozen body of water, looking for trout, whitefish, or maybe some perch for the table. Using a snowmobile we can travel for miles, augering holes and fishing our heads off. Sometimes all we get is cold, wet, or tired. Other times we can limit out on the specie we are after.

Always leaving home in the wee hours of the morning, freezing cold or wet, it doesn't matter, only the fishing counts.

Every time we would get ready to head out fishing, the wife would ask. Why don't you take the kids with you today?

Now, no self-respecting father is going to take young kids out in the elements like that, are they?

Or, should I say. We don't really have time to look after the kids on these trips as we are so busy spotting fish, rigging lines or lures, watching the graph, and trying to find what we are after. The kids would slow us down and we would not have time to keep an eye on them to make sure they dont fall overboard or something foolish like that. Also, we are out here to fish, not baby-sit, right? Kids stepping on your rods, spilling the live bait, tangling the lines, you know what I mean.

In the early spring we head out before daylight to find the elusive walleye, sometimes fishing until way past dark. The weather is usually very cool and damp. Again, no place for young kids to be.

As the spring weather starts to warm up we venture off in the evenings to look for and net smelts. The nights are cold, windy and usually raining. Waves washing up on shore, getting your feet all wet. Get the picture? No place for kids.

May rolls around and walleye and pike open again. Now we need the boat to get out to them. Not much fun for a youngster to be stuck in a boat all day is it? Besides, we would probably have to keep interrupting our fishing to take the little ones to a washroom or something. Maybe when they get a little older I will take them.

June is here now and it is time to go for bass. Cant take the kids because the bugs are out now and they would not be comfortable sitting there at the mercy of the gnats and mosquitoes would they? Not that we care about ourselves, but you gotta think about the kids comfort first. After all, they will soon be old enough to come with us and enjoy all the good times and comradery of the sport.

For sure though, we will have to take them soon because we dont want to take them out on Lake Ontario as their first trip as we run for salmon. Its a long day on the lake and waves can get very high.

I started to sound like I was making excuses, even to myself. Like, maybe what I should do is take them to the store and buy them each a new rod or something.

So, I decided to forego a mornings fishing on a clear, warm Saturday, and loaded the kids into the cab of my old truck and headed out for the one-hour drive to a Wal-Mart. After spending over two hundred dollars on them in the line of rods, reels, tackle, clothing etcetera, we where as ready as could be to go fishin'.

Finally the day came when I had to cough up. The kids where dressed in the new fishing clothes I had purchased and they proudly carried the rods, reels and tackle boxes. We are going fishing with our dad, they so eagerly told anyone that would listen!

To be on the safe side I decided to take them to a river I new about that held scores of perch and crappie.

This will be safe, I thought to myself. Of course like any self-respecting fisherman I would be busy catching my own fish as well as taking theirs off the hooks and re-baiting for them. What a proud day for me as the father, taking my boys out fishing for their first time, showing them the ropes, enjoying the male bonding and watching them catch their first fish.

As we reached the dock, the kids where full of questions. I never knew they could talk so well, or so much.

What are we gonna catch? What are we gonna use? Do we have to touch those worms? You know what it is like if you have ever fished with kids.

Well, I finally got them squared away. Lines rigged up, worms on the hooks, bobbers in place and ready to go. Now I can rig mine up and see what is out there.

As I was getting ready to cast, the boys asked in unison, "What do we do now?"

"Throw the lines in the water," I said, and at that moment I heard both rods and reels splash down, into the river about twenty yards from shore.

Take the kids fishin' eh?



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