Saturday April 21, 2012 9:00am
Before I begin to share my angler experiences with you there are a few things you need to know.
1 – In my adult life I can not recall catching a fish.
2 – My father is an avid fishermen and a successful one at that but somewhere along the way I seem to have lost this family talent. (Sorry Dad)
3 - I will go to great lengths to experience any and all outdoor activities and drag my children (6 and 5 years old) along with me.
Ok, now that we have that out of the way I can begin. Not sure where the idea came from but suddenly I was preparing and packing for a hike/fish adventure with Ben and Liv. Both were excited and before I could talk them into something else the kitchen floor was taken up by 4 tackle boxes, a couple fishing rods and a discussion about what type of bait to use. Where did all this gear come from and how in the hell did Ben and Liv know about different types of bait? Clearly I was “hooked” into taking them fishing now.
How difficult could fishing be? All the required equipment was scattered across my kitchen floor, I had two willing participants, it was a sunny day, and I know several lakes in the central Vancouver Island area that are stocked with trout. All I needed to do was a little Google research in what types of hooks to use and get a freshwater fishing license. Done!
Saturday April 21, 2012 11:30am
We finally made it to our fishing destination. My pick of lakes to fish was Westwood Lake in Nanaimo. I chose this lake because I have seen others fishing here, both in small boats and from shore. It also has a great trail around the lake giving us access to many fishing spots. (That’s what I told Ben and Liv but really I just wanted to go for a hike.) As I was unloading our fishing gear, feeling like I knew what I was doing, when it suddenly hit me. I had no idea of the fishing regulations. (There were no regulation guides at the place I purchased my license at.) How many fish could we keep? Did I need to measure them? I recall something about certain sizes allowed and others not. How do I tell the difference between one fish and another? Think mom, think. What does one do when the great Google cannot be used? Just then a guy walks by wearing hip waders and a tilly style hat with hooks decorating the rim. It was like the great Google became reality and I was staring directly at it. I batted my eyelashes, played up the mom factor and asked kindly for some advice. Can I keep any fish? Do they need to be a certain size? What fish were in Westwood Lake? The kind man answered all my questions and even provided me with more than I required. Yes I can keep the fish and there are no size requirements as the lake is stocked with Rainbow Trout. There are also Cutthroat Trout and I learned how to tell the difference between the two. (I made sure Ben was near to hear this crucial bit of info.) Red line under their throat… got it. My friendly fisherman began telling me about Bass when my overwhelmed look and fear of the unknown written all over my face told him I was about to go into information overload. Thankfully he stopped and wished us luck.
Saturday April 21, 2012 12:30pm
We found a great little fishing spot along the shore of Westwood Lake. I quickly set the kids up with snacks, asked for some patience and began to get the hook, bait, and rod ready. As I was doing this I realized I had no idea of how we were going to fish. My idea was to cast solely based on the idea it would entertain the kids and it was the only way I liked to fish when I was a kid. (My Dad trolled and jigged which I found boring as a child. I just wanted to cast.) But I was standing in a 3 foot clearing surrounded by trees and tree stumps and logs scattered in the water. Clearly casting was a bad idea. Again I found myself without the great Google (I think I need to upgrade my cell phone) and no way of knowing other methods of fishing. I think there is a float type method? Oh well, we came here to have fun so I decided to stick with casting. To reduce hooking on stumps and logs I thought it would be a good idea to place a bobber about a foot up the line from the hook. This should keep the spinner from catching on the lake bottom and I knew how to put it on. As for the trees, well, we are just going to have to be careful. This fishing thing is not so bad. I was beginning to feel confident and impressed with what I was able to do so far. Time to cast and catch some fish!
Saturday April 21 2012 12:35pm
Ok, first cast and the hook is stuck in a tree. Nice! Better yet, the friendly fisherman I had asked for advice earlier was floating by in his tube and witnessed it all. Not to look as though I was a silly Mom who did not know what the hell she was doing, (which is exactly what I looked like), I laughed and calmly instructed Ben to climb the tree and unhook us. Somehow I thought this would be a great idea. So here we were. Liv sitting eating her sandwich, me holding the rod and shaking the tree, while Ben attempts to climb the tree. Laugh all you want but we got the hook out.
Saturday April 21, 2012 12:40pm
Second cast executed perfectly. I begin to reel it in when suddenly we are stuck again. Now the hook is stuck on one of the damn logs. Thankfully my friendly fisherman is out of sight for this one. Ok Ben, take your socks, shoes, and pants off and go unhook us. The water should not be much deeper than your thigh? He agrees but insists he is not taking his pants off. Fair enough. What I did not expect was the water to be too cold for him and within half a minute he was shrieking. After a few minutes of calming him down I convinced him to try again. (The great mom I am grabbed the camera for this one.) My strong little man did not disappoint and back in he went. (He did question why he has to do everything though). He made a valiant effort but was unsuccessful in freeing the hook. Guess I was going to have to get my feet wet. Yes, the water was cold, numbing in fact but I got the job done. Ben tried to take a picture but I was in and out too fast. After the feeling returned to my feet I suggested we try a new spot and the kids agreed.
Saturday April 21, 2012 1:45pm
We found another fishing spot. One that was more wide open and a bit deeper. Happy to report we had no more casting disasters. By now I realized we were not going to be catching any fish. Pretty sure my spinner bobber combination is not the desired method of fishing. I noticed others were casting but not reeling in as often. They also did not have a bobber so obviously they were using some other float fishing method. Who cares what we doing, it was fun enough just watching Ben take over and cast himself. I sat back and watched and thought this fishing thing is not so bad while Liv entertained us with some funky dance moves.
Saturday April 21, 2012 3:45pm
We have just about made it around Westwood Lake. (6km) Adding a hike into our fishing adventure was just what we needed to change things up a bit. Many times we have walked this trail but this time was different. Perhaps it was because of fishing. Had I not stopped on the trail to readjust the rod in my backpack we would never have seen the bard owl. If I wasn’t busy looking for trails allowing access to the shore then we would not have heard the loud croak of a frog, which resulted in a 10 minute search for the critter. Had we not been carrying a fishing net we would not have been able to catch the little spring moths fluttering around. I credit fishing for all these moments.
Saturday April 21, 5:00pm
The kids and I are home now and have been recanting fish stories (or lack of) to Dad for 20 minutes. Dad showed me the proper way to set up a line for float fishing so next time the kids and I head out on a hike/fish adventure we may actually catch a fish! I can’t wait!