What Does It Take?
Today my 6 year old woke me up at 5am. In his hand was a stick he had picked up in the garden. The bark stripped off and twisted into “line”. Tied to the end was a fist sized rock and an angled stick to make the hook and weight. “Dad, let’s go fishing” were the first words as I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and squinted in the half light at him.
Dressed and a hat on his head he was ready to go… so unlike my own preparations which involve a selection of rods all planned and suited to the venue I want to fish. The piles of bait trays, spare tackle, terminal tackle and who knows what else loaded onto a bass boat. As a youngster I remember having much the same attitude as Anthony was showing now. I don’t care how but I am going fishing was the motto.
These days I need it to be a league or a classic or some other form of competition because social fishing is just too expensive. A day out costs a minimum of $150 and more so I better save the cash for when it is needed. Well when is it really needed? Is a league more important than spending quality time with my son doing something that then brings us both pleasure?
Days of preparation go into the week long President’s Test or other event and while I love what I do looking into his eyes I realised much of the fun of fishing was no longer there. It took a 6 year old with passion to remind me that fishing need not be expensive, it need not be planned and over the top but as long as done because I wanted to do it then what really matters. Anthony has a real rod (or 2), with proper reels and the right line for the application. He even has a tackle box of his own loaded with goodies pilfered from Dad’s fishing room but he had spent hours by himself making his stick rod and that was what he wants to use, who am I to tell him otherwise?
So today I am leaving work early. Not because I have a classic tomorrow 200km from home and need to sort my tackle but rather because I am going to sneak into that “private” pond down the road. I am going to load up two graphite rods (bamboo sticks) with bits of line tied to the end. Dig up a few worms out the wife’s lettuce patch and see if we can hook a bream without being caught. And if we are seen and chased we will laugh as we jump the fence and dash to the car. Pull into the drive through and sneak an ice-cream cone on the way home even if it spoils dinner. Those are the times that we will remember forever… not the loaded boat heading out at 3am while he sleeps and dreams of the next chance he will get to be with dad.
So next year I will not be fishing every league and every competition. At 6 he is still too young to spend the whole day on the water while dad tries to find a limit. No, next year I will skip some and go find a dam, a pond or even a pothole to put a line into, all with my son at my side!