What Does It Take?

SA Bass - - Readers Go Bassing - >> Clint Skin­ner

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!

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