A Little Time With The Kids
By Tom Lester
As the summer moves into fall, now is an opportune time to spend some quality time with your children. In today's hectic, rat-race like lifestyles we have, it is important to make time for our kids and make quality out of the time. The fastest way to turn a youngster off the outdoor sports is to take them out fishing in miserable weather conditions (100-degree days). Now that autumn is here, it is a great time to round up the little ones and head for the lake for an afternoon of fishing and boating.
Recently, I was fortunate to have the pleasure of my daughter's company along with two of her best friends for just such a trip. Tatum Lester (6), Mikayla Hodge (5), Madison Hodge (9) and I (36) decided to take advantage of a beautiful Sunday afternoon and go fishing. We hooked on to the Ranger bass boat and headed to Richland-Chambers.
Along the way we stopped for gas, water, sodas, chips, and other necessary snacks. If the fish weren't biting, at least the kids could be. We also stopped at Fitzgerald's for a couple dozen minnows and a few more snacks and some ice. Minnows are a must when taking little ones fishing. Playing with them in the bag keeps them occupied until we get to the lake. When the fishing gets slow out on the water, they are a great source of entertainment for the kids.
After securing everyone in his or her life vest, we headed out across the water. We simply rode around for a while looking at the birds, water, other boats and the shoreline. Oh yea, we also broke into the snacks and drinks. It's funny how we adults can have our eyes opened by young people. I saw things I had never noticed before, despite being on the lake countless times, simply because one of them pointed it out to me.
It was going to be a great day.
After our boat ride, we idled into an area not far from Oak Cove Marina and tied the boat up to a tree. Everyone had a rod and reel to use, except me. I figured I might be a little too busy to do much fishing (I was right). After baiting all of the hooks, I lowering them over the side. We indulged in our second round of drinks and snacks and waited for a whopper. It wasn't long until Tatum noticed her rod tip bouncing up and down. When she pulled up on it, she had the first fish of the day, a crappie. It wasn't a big one, but it was big enough to charge up everyone in the boat.
Once the whoopla had subsided, I pulled out my camera for a quick picture or two. After taking the pictures and putting the camera away, I saw Mikayla's rod, which she laid down for the photo op, shooting across the deck of the boat and into the water. I raced to the front of the boat, dove across the trolling motor and grabbed the shiny object racing to the bottom of the lake. I pulled it out of the water and handed it to Mikayla. After a brief struggle, she landed a small sandbass. With bruised knees and skinned up elbows, I took yet another picture.
We celebrated the catches with; you got it, more drinks and snacks.
This fishing stuff is hard work. I little person can work up quite a thirst and appetite fighting fish. Now, all we needed was for Madison to hook up, and boy, did she. We moved over a little bit to another group of trees. Madison lowered her bait into the water after helping me get the two little girls' baits in the water. After a minute or two, BOOM, she had a good one on. For a while, I wasn't sure if she could get it in by herself, but she managed. Madison had just caught the biggest fish of the day, a channel catfish that must have weighed at least two pounds. After a brief celebration, more pictures and yes, more drinks and snacks; the small yellow bass found us. The girls ended up catching 9 fish for the day. Although some of the yellow bass weren't much bigger than the minnows, they had a blast catching them. I am not sure who had more fun, them or me.
With the onset of cooler weather, it is a perfect time to take your kids fishing at a nearby lake or pond. You don't need to have a boat in order to spend some quality time and have a great afternoon with your kids fishing. A fishing pole, a little bait, plenty of (you got it) drinks and snacks and some time is all you need. That's all the really want from us anyway, a little of our time and all of our attention.
Think about it.
Until next time, enjoy the outdoors.