The art of fishing as a 2-year-old

T HE first time I went fishing I remember one thing – togetherness. I was 7 years old at the time. I remember the mullet I caught, but the overriding memory was splashing around in the shallows of the river mouth at sunset with my uncle and my cousin. Good times.

This afternoon, around 5pm, I took my kids out to the dam with friends who were visiting. Anyone who has had young kids knows the implications of this. At 5pm, they’re tired. They’re hungry. They seem excited at the prospect of something new, but the reality is short-lived.

Tam declined coming with. After about 20 horrific minutes of getting the kids ready, she reasoned that she was not in a frame of mind to behave legally, which would have existential consequences for either the kids or myself. Or both.

So off the men and boys went. We arrived at the dam, duly assembled our gear and sent out a few casts from the shoreline. It wasn’t long… milliseconds in fact… before the fisherMEN were functioning as fisherCOACHES.

And in the process, I discovered that the art of fishing – when you’re two years old – entails two things:

1. Will power.

2. Will power.

Firstly, you need enough will power to sustain the stamina needed to shout out a throaty, loud “IT’S MY TURN!” in order to secure the rod from the aforementioned fishermen (read: fathers).

Secondly, you need enough will power to conjure up ways of making fishing more exciting and fun than just throwing out a line and reeling it back.

Technical aspects like reeling in the bait can become onerous. It’s all about the image. If you just yank the line back, that’s good enough. Better still, if you turn around while you yank the line back, you can end up looking like a Egyptian mummy.

Equally so, if you get bored of that, you can just turn your rod into a spearfishing weapon and plunge it as far into the water as it will go. If you happen to let go, there’s usually an over-concerned, worried-about-the-costs parent who will dive in after it… so all your bases are covered.

Anyway, that aside, I ponder the meaning of a day like today. I guess I wonder what my kids take away from it all. Tonight, as they get tucked into bed, they may not see the benefit or the privilege of being able to do what we did. The experience was just another one. But in years to come, my hope is that each of these days add up to something of substance.

If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again… kids spell love “T-I-M-E”.

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