The First Fishing Trip

I love fishing. It’s actually part of life when you grow up in North Dakota. We spent a lot of weekends on the lake, and the majority of our vacations involved going somewhere else to fish. We used to drive up to Saskatchewan a few times a year to go fishing. Of course, this was prior to 9/11, so all you needed to get across the border was a driver’s license or a really funny story about why you didn’t have one. We would simply hook up the boat, jump in the car, and within a few hours, we would be at some of the most fertile lakes in North America.

Our primary target was Walleye (which you will never be able to convince me is not the best tasting fish in the world), but we would go after Northern Pike every once in awhile. My father and I actually entered a professional Walleye tournament when I was around 14 years old. Since we only caught one fish and managed to sink the boat, it wasn’t the most successful trip, but we still had a great time.

The opportunities for me to go fishing have been few and far between since I left home though. Part of it is that the Navy has kept me fairly busy, but another part is that I don’t understand fishing outside of the Midwest. If I’m at Fort Qu’Appelle or on Lake Sakakawea, and I drop my bait into the water, I know what type of fish I’m going to bring up. I know how to clean the fish and then cook it until mouths water for miles. I have no idea what’s going to come out of the water if I throw my line into the ocean though.

Well, last weekend, we were sitting around on Sunday morning and trying to figure out what to do. We asked Princess and she said that she would like to go fishing. We had discussed this in the past, but never really got around to doing it. This time, however, it sounded like a great idea, so we grabbed the kids’ fishing gear, the tackle box, and a couple sandwiches. Then we headed up to Lake O’Neill on Camp Pendleton.

We were planning to rent a boat since that’s how I did the majority of my fishing growing up, but we ran into a very nice lady on the way to the ramp. She mentioned that her grandson has just been dropping his line into the water at the end of the dock and pulling in tiny catfish and crappie left and right. We decided that since this was the kids’ first fishing trip, it would be better for them to sit down and actually catch something then float around in a boat all day trying to find a good spot. It was the right decision.

We sat down and within 5 minutes, Little Dude started getting nibbles on his $5 Lightning McQueen fishing rod. He did a good job waiting for the fish to actually take the hook instead of the worm, and then we were both amazed when he pulled out a 3 inch long catfish.

Then, before we could even get that fish off the hook, Princess was able to land a crappie of about the same size on her Disney Princess pole.

Princess would go on to catch 3 more fish while Little Dude would get plenty more nibbles without bringing any in. They really thought it was pretty cool. While I grew up around this, if you’ve never seen someone bring a fish out of the water, it’s probably a very neat thing.

As much fun as they had, I think CinC HOUSE and I were even more excited. It was awesome to watch the kids enjoy something that we both did when we were their age. So far, the CinC HOUSE/Princess team is ahead of the Military Dad/Little Dude team 4-1, but that’s definitely going to change. Now, I just need to convince my wife how much more fun it would be if we had our own boat…

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