At the lakeThere’s a lot of stuff I like to do–read comic books, hike, draw, play guitar. But one of my occasional pastimes is fishing. I’m not quite sure how I started fishing. My parents never took us fishing when we were growing up. I guess my first experience with a rod and reel was at summer camp at Honey Creek in the Diocese of Georgia. The camp is on a tidewater creek off of the inter-coastal waterway. Honey Creek has a dock, so we used to spend a lot of time, especially when we were camp counselors, sitting on that dock and casting out into the deep water at high tide. So I cut my fishing teeth on catching mullet, catfish, toadfish, stingrays, and the occasional shark.

You would think living in Savannah, I would have fished all the time. I did go a few times, but not on a regular basis. I guess I never had anyone to fish with, so I never made it a priority. That’s why fishing is an occasional hobby of mine.

As I posted a few weeks ago, my buddy Lee and I took our boys camping. Lee was my main fishing buddy back at Honey Creek. We even spent Lee’s bachelor party (he was married at Honey Creek and I was best man) on that dock fishing before the wedding. On our father/son camping trip, we decided we wanted to go fishing. I realized when I opened my tackle box that I was in no way prepared to fish in fresh water with the gear I had, so luckily I bummed off of Lee’s supplies. But teaching Tai how to fish on that trip got me excited to fish again.

Bronwyn with a fishThe other day, I took Tai and Bronwyn over to Liz Dixon’s house to fish on the lake on her property. On our first fishing trip, Tai had not caught anything, so I was beginning to wonder if he was at all excited about sitting on the edge of the water with no success. But he was, and Bronwyn wanted to come too. I certainly wasn’t sure what she would think of fishing, but was eager to try.

We bought some fresh worms at a gas station, and headed over to Ms. Liz’s. The weather was absolutely gorgeous.

The first 30 minutes was rather slow. A few nibbles here or there. Then, like electricity through a wire, both Tai and I got hits almost at the exact same time! I told Tai what to do and started reeling. His first fish was a decent-sized brim. He was so excited and soon afterwards, pulled in two more fish, which held the record of the day for most catches. I tried to show him how to bait his hook, but the worm guts were too gross for him.

Tai's first fish

Tai's first fish

While we fished, Bronwyn was content picking flowers and flower-looking weeds. Ms. Liz came and took her to pick some flowers to take home to mom, which she thoroughly enjoyed. From a distance, I could hear Liz teaching both of them about the flowers and what type they were. I love those moments when one person’s passion is passed on to a younger generation.

After his second fish, Tai was starting to get a little bored. (For the life of me, I don’t know why, it was a hugely successful day!) He laid down his pole and decided to relax. Bronwyn spotted the unused pole and asked if she could take a turn. So I taught her the parts of the rod and reel (at least the parts I know!), and taught her how to cast. She did a pretty good job, too, with my help, casting about 6 or 7 feet from shore.

As she was setting the pole on the ground, she got a tremendous hit! In fact, if I hadn’t been sitting there, the pole might have jumped into the lake. I held the pole and instructed her to reel it in. This fish was going all over the place, and I realized I was going to have to reel it in for her. I finally got it in and my goodness, this one was a winner! It was a huge bass, at least a foot long. I don’t know how much it weighed because I didn’t have a scale, but when I reeled it up, it broke the end of Tai’s pole.

Bronwyn's first fish is a little scary.

Bronwyn's first fish is a little scary.

I was so excited and tried to get a few pictures, but since Bronwyn couldn’t hold the fish up, nor hardly stand next to it, and Tai in tears because his pole broke, this shot was the best we got.

Much to the chagrin of many friends who saw the picture on Facebook, I threw it back in. I do regret doing so now. But maybe we’ll have another chance at the “big fish,” as Bronwyn calls him.

Overall, we caught 6 fish that day, Tai with 3, Bronwyn with the prize, and me with a couple.

Expectations are everything, so today I was excited to take them back. Not even a nibble. I guess the weather wasn’t quite as convenient for the fish.

So I’m an occasional fisherman. I like the thrill of the hunt and the serenity of the surroundings when the fish are biting and when they’re not. And now, finally, I have some occasional fishing buddies to go with me.

Jeff+