We’ve been extolling the virtues of introducing someone to fishing (or hunting, camping or anything else that doesn’t involve a roof, 4 walls and climate control) for quite some time her at the Game and Parks Commission. I did my part this weekend … sort of. I invited my son’s Cub Scout den ice fishing Sunday. The two kids and their parents who accepted the invite had fished before, but they hadn’t ice fished. So I guess that qualifies.
I’ve always liked ice fishing, but I have trouble getting excited about standing on frozen pond when goose and pheasant season is still open. With those seasons closed, the trip sounded like a great idea.
Well, either the fish weren’t hungry or I should’ve spent more time learning the intricacies of ice fishing. The last two times Mace and I fished at Yankee Hill WMA west of Lincoln, including once last month, we caught tons of little bluegills. That was far from the case Sunday and it wasn’t long before the kids were asking “why aren’t we catching any fish?” forcing me to pull out that old line: “That’s why they call it fishing and not catching.” But what’s great about ice fishing is when things are slow, the kids have all kinds of room to run around. And when it’s as nice as it was Sunday, you don’t have to worry about keeping them warm.
While the three second graders were playing on the ice, Aiden’s dad, Stuart, told he was actually enjoying what he called more of a real fishing trip, where catching wasn’t automatic. He and Aiden fish at Holmes Lake quite often, and there, “It’s too easy.”
Mace finally pulled the first fish through the ice about 2 hours after we started. The next fish came an hour later, when we moved to another spot, which we should’ve done sooner. I’m a slow learner that is inclined to keep fishing old hotspots. That’s even more true when there are so many bodies and so much gear to move.
Andrew and his mom, Kim, had to head home before Andrew could catch a fish. Aiden caught one before he had to go. Stuart, Mace and I each picked up a couple. So if you measure the success of the trip in the number fish caught, I failed miserably as a guide. Thankfully, that’s not how success is measured in these sorts of endeavors. I don’t know if Aiden and Andrew will ever ice fish again. But I think they had a good time. And if we’re all still in Scouts together next year, they’ll at least have the chance when I invite them again. That’s all we can do, is invite people. And something se should do if we want to get more people hooked on fishing.
So if you fish, consider this my challenge to you: take someone fishing. And if you won’t listen to me, listen to The Bassador, who Daryl Bauer blogged about in October and again last week. That’s funny stuff.
See you out there.
PS – I’m with Daryl in lamenting what appears to be the end of the hard-water fishing season (see his latest blog). I don’t know if I’m as grumpy as he is, but I think the girl at the hardware store was surprised at my response when she asked me if I was enjoying the weather Monday. I sprung for a shelter this year and hoped to take it to the Sandhills later this month. Looks like I might need to get the boat ready instead.