Took the boys fishing this past weekend and I wanted to pass on some advice. Better yet, below you will find a checklist to use to take your children on a trip to the Great Outdoors. Nothing says bonding time like waking up early, casting a few lines into a swift misty river and catching dinner.
I wonder what that’s like.
- Fishing license
- Bait (I do not suggest watching videos on ‘which bait should I use?’ The amount of information you find on different theories is depressingly vast. In the end you’ll come to the realization you can only learn to fish if you start in the womb, and your life has been wasted watching tv and going to work. The less you know the better. Just use earthworms, or, if you’re squeamish, use fake earthworms.)
- Pliers or a knife to cut knots or tangles (This is your life for the next few hours. Remember to breathe.)
- Mobile phone with GPS (You won’t get lost. It’s actually to watch videos on: How do I fish? How do I tie a fishing knot? and How do I perform basic first aid?)
- Fishing rod for every kid (Don’t bother bringing one for yourself. Your day will be spent knee deep in water retrieving lures stuck in trees, taking fish off of hooks, sticking yourself with various sharp objects, knotting hooks to line and pulling three year olds out of the mud/river/lake/pond. If you do not have enough rods for every kid, jealousy and boredom will set in. At the first sign of an argument, immediately end the trip and drive directly to the nearest fast food joint.)
- Light quick drying clothes and water proof shoes (These cost a fortune. In the end they will commune with nature in a Ninja Turtles tee shirt, flat brimmed hat, orange mesh shorts and an over-sized pair of Crocs.)
- Hat and sunglasses
- Change of clothes (This is essential. Five minutes after you cast your first bait your child will say they have to poop despite repeated attempts before you left to use the bathroom. They swore they did not have to go. They were lying to you. You are miles from a bathroom and you never thought to bring toilet paper. Time to get creative. Luckily, you did bring an extra pair of underwear. Remember, every tree is a “lav-a-tree.” Or, immediately end the trip and drive directly to the nearest fast food joint.)
Planning the trip:
- Know where you’re going the night before. A quick internet search will provide plenty of nearby options for ponds, lakes and rivers. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is awesome. They will even suggest places that are family friendly. I am certain other states have similar resources.
- Get up early (Don’t worry, you’ll leave an hour and a half later than expected because you forgot they needed breakfast and all the gear you knew you had ready to go the night before is hidden throughout various rooms and bins in the attic, basement and shed. Get ready to sweat as you search frantically. If you’re going to curse, make sure it is under your breath and not directed towards anyone.)
- Food and water – How long will you be gone? Do you need to bring lunch? Snacks? Always bring water. (NB If you are a man reading this, disregard. Just remember when you stop at the gas station, buy an extra sleeve of “Donettes.” Or, the second they start complaining about being hungry, immediately end the trip and drive directly to the nearest fast food joint.)
- Camera (The beauty of getting outside and doing something in nature is: even when it’s a disaster and uncomfortable and frustrating, they really are great memories. The stories of when it went rough are the ones you all will remember the longest, and with a laugh. Just do me a favor. Take one or two pictures. Stop trying to capture every second. Experience life in real time.)
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