By Wayne Chan
Northwest Asian Weekly
I took my son fishing last week and we almost caught a fish that was THIS big.
Actually, we didn’t almost catch anything. Unless, of course, you count seaweed, in which case our fishing expedition was hugely successful.
In my day, I caught my fair share of fish. I’ve even caught some big ones, but most of my fishing expeditions have left me empty-handed. While the excitement of pulling in a big catch is certainly real, it’s ever so brief and is always sandwiched by hours of staring at a fishing rod, touching worms, and accidentally hooking parts of my body instead of the bait.
So it came with a little trepidation that I decided to give in to my 10-year-old kid’s constant pleading, and finally take him out for an afternoon of lake fishing.
Not having fished in years, I decided to make the best of it. I pulled together all the essential tools we needed: lawn chair, picnic umbrella, car magazine, iPod.
Just for good measure, I decided to bring along a fishing pole.
You could sense my son’s expectations when he went into the garage and pulled out a five-gallon bucket to haul away his anticipated bounty of fish. Trying to tamp down expectations, I convinced him to bring the toy bucket he used in the sandbox when he was two years old.
Once we arrived at the lake, our next step was to go to the general store and pick up some bait, fishing permits, and a five-hour supply of potato chips.
Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm for fishing had less to do with the actual process of fishing, but more to do with the nature of fishing where I live. You see, all the lakes near where I live are manmade lakes, which means that the lakes would normally not have any fish in them, except for the fact that the city stocks them with fish every season.
In addition, the cost of all the fishing permits and bait for this day cost me over $40. My afternoon of lake fishing seemed more like going seafood shopping at the local market, with an incredibly poor chance of actually bringing home a fish.
Still, trying to be as supportive as possible, my son and I proceeded down to the lake, where I set up shop — unfolding the lawn chair, springing open the picnic umbrella, turning on the iPod, and opening up my first bag of potato chips.
Once my “fishing command station” was set up, I realized that the fish would not be able to ignore our fishing lines until I set our rods with hooks and sinkers.
Based on what others were using around the lake, I attached a fake rubber worm to our poles, and I taught Tyler how to cast his line out into the lake. After having him cast a few times without letting the line go, I gave him the green-OK-go light to do it for real. Tyler brought his reel back and tried to fling his line deep into the lake.
After spending about 20 minutes untangling the bundle of knots from his first cast, we were ready for attempt number two.
With a few more attempts, my weariness for fishing soon grew into a proud Dad cheering on his son.
“Great cast, Ty! Looking good!”
With a big smile on his face, Tyler reveled in the moment. All of a sudden, his joy of mastering a fishing rod in the water became much more important than actually catching afish.
So while we didn’t come home with any big fish — or fish stories for that matter — at the end of the day, we were left with the kind of experience that every father and son adventure should have, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Well that, and I didn’t have to clean any fish. ♦
Wayne Chan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.