But in an attempt to up my Bass Pro Shops shopper street cred, I have decided to take up fishing.
This interest actually started back in December, when we were at Bass to see Santa and Nathan spied some children's fishing poles featuring his favorite licensed characters. Of course he begged to have one. I told him we could get one in the spring.
Well, spring has come delightfully early to Chicago this year. I might venture to say that we've actually skipped spring and headed straight into summer, with the temps in the 80s this week.
So, it's time to start fishing!
Bass was having a fishing event, which I thought would be a good introduction to fishing for Nathan (and me).
Step 1: Picking out our fishing boat:
I'm kidding, of course. We aren't buying a boat. But Nathan loves climbing on them in the store, and, frankly, so do I.
Next we waited in a 30-minute line for our turn at the kids' catch-and-release pond. Well, I waited in the line while Nathan climbed on more boats.
When it was finally Nathan's turn, we lucked out and got a Cars fishing pole. I was using this opportunity to demonstrate to Nathan the patience required in fishing (as much patience as is required to catch a fish in what is essentially a glorified wading pool). So when it took us longer to catch our fish than some of the other kids and the store employee offered to trade us for a "lucky pole" (i.e., one with a fish already attached to the end), I said, "No, we are practicing our patience."
Eventually we caught one:
Then we posed for a picture on a bench shaped like a quail, in front of a stuffed bear and possum:
And then we looked at the fish tank, where Nathan followed this fish around, "pretending to be a fish":
When this exhausted collapse happened, I knew it was time to head out. To fish our cut bait, if you will:
On the way out, we selected our poles. Nathan got a Spider-Man one, and I got a pink one. Then I got him a Cars tackle box, which was when I became completely overwhelmed by the options for tackle I needed to purchase. I solicited the help of an employee, who was about as predictably surly and impatient as you would expect a middle-aged guy working the fishing counter at Bass Pro Shops to be. (Though note he was not fat. I figured you were picturing him a little chunky, but that would be incorrect.) So, I asked him what kind of bait he would recommend for two amateur fisher-people. The people at the catch-and-release pond were using worms (and, at one point, I witnessed a guy cutting a worm in half with scissors ewwewwewwewweww), but I was looking for something, you know, less alive, which could be purchased far in advance of the fishing trip. So, I asked the employee:
Me: What kind of bait would you recommend for him [indicating Nathan] to fish in a lake?
Me: But, like, you know, something we could buy ahead of time? [Pointing to aisles containing all kinds of non-living bait.]
Me: Yeah, I know, but ...
Guy: Worms. They sell worms at the gas station on the corner.
Me: Kay, yeah, thanks.
We did not buy worms at the gas station on the corner, because we were not planning on fishing that same day. Instead I let Nathan go home and practice casting in the back yard, which at one point resulted in me getting a hook caught in my finger, and at another point resulted in Nathan getting a hook caught in his shirt.
And that reminds me of a horribly awful tangential story! When I was about 7 years old, we visited my aunt and uncle in Colorado, and we were planning on going fishing. We had the pole all set up inside the house before the trip, and I was messing around with it, and somehow the hook side-swiped my aunt's eye and caught her contact lens. At the time I thought nothing of it, but now the idea of a fishing hook getting that close to somebody's eye ... OMG OMG OMG.
Anyway, you might be wondering about our plans for future fishing outings.
Well, there's a class at the park district called Learn to Fish, which would be perfect for us. Naturally we aren't available that day. So I guess maybe I'll look for an instructional fishing DVD from the library? And then there's a fishing derby we can participate in at the end of April.
Of course, I still have no confidence that Nathan will have the patience for fishing, which means all this money and effort will be wasted, at least for the time being. I figure maybe he could take up some kind of side activity while we're waiting for the fish to bite, like wandering around in nature, or throwing rocks in the pond. No wait, throwing rocks would scare the fish. We'll probably just bring the iPod instead. I think they have a fishing app he can play. That's the spirit.
I'd also like to note that if we do catch any fish, we will be throwing them back. I feel bad being that actively involved in ending a creature's life, and damn if I'm gonna go and clean fish to prepare them for eating. I still feel kind of bad about the fish getting speared in the mouth with a hook, though. That's gotta hurt.
More fish stories forthcoming.