I had been planning this for awhile, and the opportunity finally came. I took Sebastian out on his very first fishing trip.
He was so excited he took a power nap on the drive so he would be in peak condition for the fishing.
It was a pretty afternoon, in the 70's. The leaves and blossoms are popping out all over.
Sebastian wouldn't wake up when we got to the lake (it had been a busy weekend and he was due for a good nap.) So I took the opportunity to rig up his new rod. This is actually his second rod. He had a light-up Spiderman rod before, but he was a little rough on it before we ever got to try it out, and broke the tip off.
This new rod is a pretty little thing, and it has no connection whatsoever with any superhero or kid's movie. There were plenty of those at the store, so I held up a Marvel Heroes rod and this plain one, and he chose the plain one. Nice one, Sebastian.
I checked on Sebastian again, and he still wasn't ready to wake up. So I broke out the crawlers and gave the little rod a try. I wanted to see what we were up against here.
We were at Bass Lake, and in the summer it's choked with bluegills and perch. You can't beat them off with a stick when you show them a bit of crawler on a hook. I was hoping that might be Sebastian's first experience of fishing, but we were still a bit early. There were no fish to be seen, and I didn't find any by prospecting around as far as I could cast.
I checked Sebastian and this time he woke up. It took him awhile to remember where we were, but then he was eager to hop down and check things out. I showed him how to reel, and went over again the particulars of the hook, the bait, and the bobber. Especially the bobber: keep your eyes on that bobber. Then I cast it out and let him reel it in. He handled it well.
There was a good sign at that point: as soon as he had reeled it in he tried to cast it out again all by himself. He took a vicious swing with the rod. Almost caught me with it. So I helped him cast, and he reeled in, and he was digging it.
We moved over to another spot on the shoreline, and I was encouraged again to see him running, eager to get there. I set him up on a little outcropping, and we went at it again. He kept a sharp eye on the bobber.
And then he fell in. That outcropping was the only level spot on the steeply sloping bank, so I thought he'd be safest there. But he took a step just a little too far to the right, his foot slid into the water, he lost his balance, spun around and sat down in the lake. He didn't like that.
I had been thinking about how to deal with his disappointment at not catching anything, or, worse, with his getting bored after awhile. But that wasn't necessary. It was clearly time to quit.
I told him on the way home that Grandpa had fallen in lots of times (not lying), and that all fishermen fall in sometimes. I also talked about the next time we go fishing--focusing on the fish we'd catch on that trip (also not lying--I'll make it happen). By the time we got home he could tell his Mom and Grandma that he fell in and smile about it.
I'd call that a real baptism into fishing. We'll see if he's like me, but if he is, he's thinking, "Dang! Just when I was getting the hang of it, I fall in! Can't wait to get out there and give it another try."