I am reblogging this amazing post from our friend Fraser, writing about his son’s first experience of catching a fish. http://oldmillroad.com.au/marlinspikes-hooked/
On Marlin’s 6th birthday we went fishing. We were going to hire a tinny or borrow a canoe and get out on the lake and catch a fish. That’s what he wanted to do and I’m no fisherman but he reckons I am because we went a while back and we caught a fish and so now I’m Rex Hunt.
But the day was foul and so we skipped the boat part and found the tiniest sheltered place out of the wind, and he caught a fish. He wasn’t catching anything and I suggested a lure change and he caught a nice flathead which perpetuated the myth of my fishing skill.
And he has been hassling me ever since, at every opportunity we have to pull into the fishing shop and look at rods and reels and bait and lures and I pretend to know what I’m talking about, and he loves it.
All winter I have been telling him that the water’s too cold and the fish won’t bite, which is (as far as I’m aware) true because what he wants is to catch a Bass and of the little I know about fishing I know the odds are you won’t catch a Bass in winter. But Spring is here. The flying ants are touching the water and he saw a Bass rise so here we go.
I tried to postpone it by pointing out that he lost the right lure when he was mucking about with the tackle box. He said we can buy another one. I said I had no money. So Friday arvo comes around and he’s picking lemons and pulling radishes and bunching silverbeet out of his garden bed. That’s not unusual. He likes the markets, chats to everyone, plugs his vegies, buys a couple of donuts and puts the rest in his moneybox. But not this week. “Tomorrow” he says “after markets Dad, we’re going to go to the fishing shop to buy a lure”
And we did. But he was a dollar short. We looked at cheaper lures but I wasn’t confident in them. I also wanted him to learn something, you know the usual Dad stuff, save your pennies, have patience, word hard save a little more but the tears started welling and I could see he was so desperately keen and it was only a dollar and he’s only six, so we negotiated a deal and he got the extra dollar to buy the lure and I got 15 minutes of strawberry weeding.
And he kept casting and casting and no luck at all. So I suggested he sneak around to another part of water, really sneak, quiet and in the shadows and try to make the lure look like it fell out of a tree. I don’t know it just made sense to me.
And what do you know? Bang, he was on and jumping from foot to foot and shouting instructions and giggling. He pulled in a beautiful bass and we looked at it and I asked him what he wanted to do. I gave him the choice of letting the fish go or having to kill the fish explaining that that was why we fished. Not because it’s fun or for the sport but because the fish is a food source for us. We catch it to eat it and the hard reality is that if we were to eat this fish then we would need to kill it. He looked at it and took a breath and said quietly we should eat it. And we had a quiet moment. I don’t know if he’s capable yet of contemplation or if he fully grasps respect but I believe he felt the gravity of the moment.
I think it’s a good thing. He knows we grow chickens and beef for eating and that I buy sheep to kill and bag a rabbit from time to time and mostly he’s an observer of these things but this time he was in the box seat. He had to kill an animal for our dinner otherwise it would be broad beans again. He and Piccola are both fully aware of where our food comes from and I think it’s a good thing.