I remember fishing as a kid from this very spot. The end of the pier and many other "honey holes" in beautiful Rock Cut State Park located in Winnebago County, IL. I spent much of my childhood in this park fishing, camping, canoeing, swimming across the lake...so many great memories. Today, as an adult of near 50 years old, I use the park to mountain bike mainly on the several miles of well maintained MTB trails.
Back to fishing...
I fished quite a bit as a kid. I caught, cleaned, and ate. My mom was sure she taught me how to do this. She was a Girl Scout leader, after all, and no son of hers was going to be raised and not learn this life skill. I remember fishing many times and catching nothing, but I always went back. The thrill for a boy waiting for that bobber to dunk, feeling the fish take the line, and reeling it in, never quite knowing what was going to be on the other end. The chance of catching a fish was all it took to get back out there. Even if I didn't catch anything. Just sitting there, casting, waiting, becoming lost in my head for a few hours, it was therapeutic, even if I didn't quite understand it at the time.
As I grew older, I fished on occasion, but never kept them any longer. I would just catch and release...for sport. This sport came to bother me after a while. Reeling in a catch, ripping the hook out of its mouth, throat, gills etc. and watching it die as I put it back in the water. Now, I know fish have small brains and likely have no feelings as to what is happening to them, but it just bothered me. I wouldn't kill any other animal for sport, so why fish? Although I stopped fishing, I never forgot the childhood memories it gave me that I so coveted.
Fast forward another fish-less 15 years and I have a daughter. A bright, energetic, fearless daughter. A child that will take on anything I challenge her with. I always knew that I would want my children to learn to fish. It's a great lesson in patience, survival, and self confidence.
I took my 6 year old daughter fishing for the first time yesterday. The same place I fished for almost a decade as a child. She learned to bait a hook and cast and reel an open reel (we are still working on setting up the line and rig, but that will come next). She got to experience the thrill of the bobber dunking. Her high pitched screams "daddy, I've got a fish, daddy!" brought excitement to me. Although we only had some bites and never hooked anything, it was enough to make her want to fish another day. She experienced the same excitement as I did as a child. I know we will return soon and I can't wait for her to bring in our first catch together.
|First Daddy/Daughter fishing trip. 07/18/19|
Rock Cut State Park
Polaroid 330 Land Camera on Fuji pf100 instant film