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It's good to be a Dad, and to take your kids fishing. My Dad did it, Mark did it with his seven--count 'em--seven kids, and I did it with my three grown daughters. Laura, who is coming out next week for a visit, tells me she would love to go fishing with me again when she's here. And, happily, I still get to do it with my three kids still at home.
This afternoon it was yet another expedition, this time to the early season trout lake, with Jeremiah, his Uncle Mark, and his friend Ian. This makes the third lake for Mark in his first five days here.
I call it the early season trout lake because it opens a month before the other lakes, and I fish it then for bright, cold Spring trout. By this time of the year, though, especially at the east end, farthest from the cold water intake, there are Bluegill and roving Largemouths.
Jeremiah and Ian had caught Bluegill yesterday--twice the size of what they catch from the dock at Bass Lake--and had seen some bass. (Kim had taken them while Mark and I were at Trout Lake; yes, mothers also take kids fishing.) So this morning they worked on their gear and made their plans and could hardly wait to get back there.
They started catching Bluegill in the outlet channel again, but they were dreaming of bass.
So was Mark. He plied his purple worm for awhile.
Then the boys moved down from the channel and started fishing where it opens into the main lake. I heard Ian start exclaiming, "I thought it was seaweed! I thought it was seaweed!" When I got there a very nice bass lay at his feet. He'd just plunked in his little piece of worm, started reeling it in, and Bingo.
At first he couldn't "lip" it--you have to get used to the idea of putting your thumb in that big mouth on a live fish and holding tight to that file-like lower lip--and neither could Jeremiah; but Jeremiah was the first to succeed at it, so he held the fish in the first photo.
Jeremiah went back to fishing, and then I heard Ian say, "Jim." I looked around and there he was lipping his bass. Nice work, Ian.
Then Adrian, another friend of Jeremiah, and his dad Jake showed up. Three Dads, three assorted kids, and lines shooting out in every direction.
I watched Jake, a veteran bass man, as he cast his soft bait way across the channel mouth and plunked it down beside a rock right on the shoreline. He got an immediate hit (he said, "I thought he might be in there.") but missed the set. He reeled in a bare hook. He baited up again and let fly, and it plunked down within two feet of the first cast. An immediate hit again, and this time he had him.
I took over Mark's rod and began working that purple worm like Jake was working his soft bait. And what do you know, I caught the next bass. It was bigger than Jake's--this time--and maybe bigger than Ian's, and probably bigger than Mark's from the other day. But it was Mark's purple worm, and anyway, who's keeping score.
It meant a lot to me to have Jeremiah snap this picture.
Jeremiah didn't get a bass this trip, but he didn't go home empty handed. The boys found a baby Painted Turtle, and Jeremiah, who loves turtles, brought it home in this pop bottle and made a little home for it. That's what we can use those leftover worms for.
When we got back home, Ian's dad--who often takes Ian and his brothers fishing, and sometimes Jeremiah too--came over to pick him up, and Ian got to show him his fish. Ian took all the fish, bass and bluegills, home with him, proud as could be.
It's good to be a Dad, and to take your kids fishing. Happy Father's Day, everyone.