I'm sure this will not come as breaking news to any fishing enthusiasts out there who happen to be parents, but here it is anyways.
Once you have children, and they become involved in fishing trips, your days of fishing are basically done.
Taking the kids out is great, and honestly I probably wouldn't go out as often if I didn't have my little buddy to go with.
But seriously, we've logged a lot of hours already this season, and I can count my total number of casts on two hands.
My boy started fishing before he was two years old, and the five-year-old seasoned veteran has already figured out how to get away with minimal work.
And this is why I barely get to fish, I spend the whole time baiting his hooks, getting him un-snagged, grabbing snacks or drinks from the cooler, or answering questions about why the moss is green (chlorophyll, right?).
Anyways, on a recent post-work fishing expedition to Mozingo, I managed to get my line wet four times. With those, I brought in two nice-sized bass, which was gratifying. The rest of the time was spent baiting for our crew.
Jump back to a few years ago. As a relatively new father, the fact that my new angling partner took up most of my time on the water frustrated me.
That feeling stopped the moment he reeled in his first fish, a tiny little bass (I still have the picture somewhere). Fatherly pride surged, drowning the frustration.
At times the frustration will creep back, such as the seemingly successful trip last week that was cut short. I can't help but think that I could have brought back more fish than I could carry.
After losing a big one and giving a few choice words, the boy had the insight to calm me down.
“Don’t worry dad, you already have two fish, and you said that it’s ok even if we don’t catch anything.”
Couldn’t argue with that, and I have to give the kid credit for knowing the right time to throw out a "thanks dad," or "I really like fishing with you dad."
It melts the heart.
In those moments, it all becomes clear. I'm not out there to fish, I'm out there to teach him how to fish. I'm out there to spend time with him.
I can only imagine the frustration levels of my dad after all of the lures and bait I lost out at Grandma's pond.
Fishing is a sport of the utmost patience, and to teach this virtue, you must practice it.
Easier said than done under most circumstances. But in nature, on the bank of a lake with smooth water, birds chirping and an occassional boat trolling by, my patience is abundant.
The system is simple, explain and repeat. Ask if he understands. Have him explain and repeat. It doesn't have to work the first time, but the kid has a mind like a steel trap, he'll get it.
Some times I have to question how he remembers it all, and he has so much yet to learn. Poor guy.
This will be a year of firsts for the little man. Starting kindergarten in the fall, first year of t-ball, among many others.
But, above all this summer, I am determined that this will be the year that he learns to tie his own knots.
The whole point of parenting is to teach, and although he may not be learning from the best, he's learning from his dad.
I would happily spend the rest of my days doing nothing but baiting his hooks if it meant that he gained the knowledge to teach his children in the future.
Jesse Murphy is a reporter for the Maryville Daily Forum. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or found elbow-deep in a carton of someone else’s worms.