My nephew is 6, and like all adventurous 6-year-olds he loves to fish and get dirty and run around and be a "boy." For that, I admire him and am pretty jealous. My parents live on a lake in central Massachusetts, so fishing has been a part of my life for 20+ years. This past weekend, with the whole family gathered down at mom & pops house, my nephew and I spent some time fishing.
Our first adventure was using butterfly nets to catch newly-hatched baby perch, sunfish, and pumpkinseeds (kivers). We managed to catch one little guy and put him in a coffee can filled with water. Jack didn't want to use it as bait, as that would mean ending the baby fish's life, so we kept it in the coffee can while we tried to collect some crayfish. (He never really wrapped his brain around why it's called a crayfish when it's not really a fish, and the same logic applied when I explained to him, that in the alternative, he could call it a crawdad.) He didn't have the same sentiment towards the crayfish as he did the baby sunfish, so on the hook it went. One vicious cast later and the crayfish was deposited back into Lake Singletary. Having not hooked a crayfish in a number of years, I apparently threaded the hook through the wrong section of its exoskeleton. Oh well, in the minutes that elapsed over this occurrence, Jack had lost all emotion towards the 2" long baby sunfish in the Folger's can. No, he didn't want to use it as bait. He wanted to eat it. This brought a tear to my eye, as I can't recall ever being more proud of my nephew. Inside the house we went with our minuscule baby sunfish approaching the end of its short life. Using a boning knife, I deftly beheaded the creature and cleaned out the stomach cavity, rinsing it under cold tap water. Using the smallest dollop of butter I have ever used in cooking, I quickly sauteed the less-than-1" filleted fish. Jack and I each grabbed a fork and took a bite of our "hors d'oeuvre." Needless to say, Grampy was beaming with pride. Mom and dad thoroughly enjoyed this, as well, but were more confounded with his previous disdain for seafood. Fish and chips at a local pub? Nope. Baby sunfish gutted right in front of him? Yes please!
Now that we were thoroughly stuffed from our lunker sunfish, Jack wanted to fish some more. After a few casts I snagged an adult sunfish (my least favorite of all freshwater fish to catch), and released it immediately upon getting the hook out. One cast later and I was hooked up with what I thought might be the same apparently stupid sunfish. This time, Jack's appetite got the better of him and he wanted to eat this one, too. Out came the Normark fillet knife, and within moments I had the sunfish gutted and cleaned in the ankle-deep water where we were standing. Just like before, a few dollops of butter in a hot fry pan, and voila! Fresh fish that Jack and I enjoyed as a side to the main course my mom had prepared.
I can only imagine fishing with my own son (or daughter, whichever we may be blessed with) will be incredible, but for the time being, it doesn't get any better than throwing out a couple lines with my nephew. I think Jack had fun, but I think we all know who had the most fun fishing that day.
I'm just a guy who loves to hike, fish, hunt, camp, and snowmobile, preferably with my wife Brooke and our three kids, Hunter, Max & Shea. I play the part of a lawyer during the week and try to get outside and get dirty on the weekends.