I have vague memories of fishing a few times as a kid. I definitely had a fishing pole and tackle box at some point, but without anyone to really foster my interest, it faded over time. Fast forward 30 years later and my oldest kid, Addison, has pleaded with us to take her fishing. I have no idea where the desire came from – I asked her, and she mentioned something about seeing people fishing once. Who knows… but we are in South Carolina for a couple of weeks, and Joe Rice, a good friend of my father-in-law Boris, offered to teach Addison how to fish.
Our first day in South Carolina, Boris (or as she calls him, G-Dad) took Addie to buy a fishing pole. Naturally she came home with a pink princess rod, and a pink tackle box. Did I ever mention Addie loves pink?
The next morning, we set out on our fishing adventure! Mr. Rice has a great place right on the banks of the Saluda River, so we ventured over to his place. First thing, Boris taught Addie how to string her fishing rod.
Next, Mr. Rice taught us all how to put the hook on, and then put a worm on the hook. Addie was hilarious – she insisted on washing the dirt off of the worm before hooking it.
Once the worm was hooked, Mr. Rice taught Addie how to cast and tighten her line. Like the worm, she was hooked on fishing.
We spent the next two hours fishing. Addie was very patient. After some time, we gave up on worms and switched to bread for bait. Mrs. Rice caught the first fish of the day – a 2lb. catfish. Addie was entranced as she watched Mrs. Rice reel in her catch. I wasn’t sure how she’d react once we actually caught a fish, but she was excited, and got right back to trying to catch a fish of her own.
I wasn’t planning on fishing, but somehow I got hooked as well. Mrs. Rice lent me her pole, and I started casting. It seemed to be the only thing I was any good at, because the fish wouldn’t bite. Mr. Rice had thrown some bagels into the river, trying to attract the fish, and a particularly large catfish kept taunting me as it chomped on one of the bagels, coming right up out of the water and making totally gross sucking sounds.
After a bit, while I was cursing the catfish, Addie finally caught something on her line! Mr. Rice helped her haul it in, and at the end of her hook was a… turtle! Not exactly what she was fishing for, but she was excited nonetheless! Mr. Rice said it was the first time he’d ever had anyone catch a turtle.
We all cheered for Addie, and I thought she’d be done, but she insisted on throwing out her line again and again.
Meanwhile, I was still trying to hook the giant catfish. I’d just about given up when all of a sudden my line started flying. I pulled the rod back and started reeling it in as fast as I could, but it seemed like no matter how much I wound the line, I was no closer to hauling in the fish.
The Rices gave me bits of advice as I kept reeling – “don’t let it go under the dock!” and “don’t let it get caught on something under water!” After a few minutes, I thought my left arm was going to fall off. Finally, the fish surfaced and after a few tries, Mr. Rice caught it in his net.
The fish was HUGE. I had managed to catch the taunting catfish, which turned out to be six pounds.
It was also quite possibly the ugliest fish I had ever seen. Though I think Addie was impressed with my fishing skills, she was not as moved by the ugly catfish dangling at the end of my line.
After all the excitement of my catch, Addie had finally had enough of fishing, so we ended our morning with a beautiful boat ride down the Saluda River, Addie snuggling into her G-Dad.
We made a promise to Mr. Rice that every visit to South Carolina would come with a visit to him to go fishing! I was surprised at how much I enjoyed myself. Not to mention, fishing sure helped teach Addie patience and the ever-important lesson that just because you aren’t successful at something the first time, it doesn’t mean you should give up. She is excited to go fishing again, and to finally (hopefully) catch her first fish.