Kids just want to catch fish

Catelyn shows off one of the fish she caught.

Whether or not they continue it later in life, kids – virtually all kids – want to have the opportunity to catch a fish. They may lose interest soon after the initial experience but the desire to watch a bobber go under and to feel the tug on the line is something inborn in youngsters.
Daughter, Melissa, is now a grown-up, married with three daughters of her own. However, she still mentions the fun she had when as a little tyke, her grandparents helped her bait a hook and fish for bream at their lakeside home on D’Arbonne. Today if given the opportunity, Melissa still likes to feel the pulsating fight of a fish on her line.
In years past, I have had the opportunity of fishing with my grandchildren. It has been enjoyable to me to watch Kayla’s four struggling with a bream or bass on the line. Watching their eyes as they fought a fish, there was no doubt that they were having a genuine good time.
I remember once taking Cathy’s two girls on a fishing trip to Lincoln Parish Park Lake. It is debatable as to who had the most fun; the girls or me.
It all started when plans were made for the girls, their brother, Billy, and parents to drive up for a visit with us. Cathy had already told me what the girls wanted to do once they got here. Tops on the list was for “papaw to take them fishing”.
The second day of their visit, son-in-law, Bill, and I drove into the Lincoln Parish Park with the kids. Billy’s interest was more in swimming so while Bill watched over Billy at the swimming hole in the lake, I took then seven year old Callie and five year old Catelyn with me where we set up shop on one of the piers at the lake. Glancing into the water next to the pier, there was no doubt that I’d soon be busy baiting hooks and taking off fish; the shallows teemed with small bluegills looking for a hand-out.
They caught fish. In fact, they caught them so fast I scarcely had time to skewer a worm on a hook for one granddaughter before the other yelled, “Papaw; I got another one!” After an hour of furious activity, the girls were ready to join Billy at the swimming hole. I let them each keep six to take home and show their mom. Then they insisted I clean the fish to add to the fish fry I had planned for the family that evening.
There was something especially gratifying as I watched them watching me clean their catch. There were questions…
”Papaw, what is that yucky stuff?”
Fish guts.
“Papaw, they sure have a lot of bones. Will they hurt me?”
No, I’ll pick ‘em out for you.
“Papaw, what do little fish taste like?”
Just like big fish, only better.
I fried up their catch first and after they’d cooled, I offered both girls the first bite traditionally taken on a fried bream; the tail. They were reluctant at first until I demonstrated how to nip the tail with one bite. “Like eating a potato chip”, I told them. They tried it, and liked it, wanting more.
Next, I showed the girls how to “unzip” a bream by taking out the fins and pulling the two halves apart. Then I separated the tiny lump of meat from the bones, watched them dip the bites in ketchup and take a bite.
“M-m-m-m…that’s good, Papaw.” The fact that they were eating fish they’d caught themselves seemed to bring the experience full circle for the two girls.
The experience left me fulfilled and content that I had helped my two granddaughters engage in a wholesome activity, and I did it in such a way that they wanted more.
They had fun both at the fishing hole, but as we drove away, I knew that the next time they come for a visit, one of the first things they’re going to say to me is, “Papaw, can we go fishing?

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