Friday, May 15, 2009

Spring Trip, Days 3 & 4: Touring

After being home Friday night and most of Saturday, I took the boys out for a weekend tour of the great Southeast. We started in Whitewater, over-nighted with JM at a hotel (has become tradition for our spring trip to stay at an establishment run by a local guy there in the WW basin), and then wound down into the Root River drainage. Needless to say, with these guys as the focus, there was little to no fishing to be had. The focus was more on getting the boys wet and dirty, watching them learn a few things, breaking up their conflicts, getting them food, getting them to sleep, keeping them out of danger, etc. List could continue, as any parent would note.

I got completely lit up by a tough parenting situation there in the hotel. No control over the kids is what I had. They were pretty pumped up and excited about a hotel room, and they wouldn’t calm down. Ha! Looking back on it I can laugh… but at the time there was some gnashing of teeth. Parenting. Tough.

One goal was to allow James an opp to catch a trout. He’s legitimately hooked and landed many sunnies, and he’s played a few trout after the rod has been handed to him… But he’d not had the chance to all-out fish for a trout until this weekend. Post-outing assessment is that we should stick to sunnies for a while. He did very well flipping a little soft hackle out there. However, kids are mostly result-focused and they don’t seem to care much about the method, the passing of time spent on the water, the bugs in the air, the limestone under the flowing river… etc. Get me a fish, please. In fact, that was said more than once, and a couple times it was said through frustrated tears. Felt bad about it. I wasn’t pushing anything. In fact, he actually asked that we stop the car to go fishing. After a few minutes of catching nothing though, he got frustrated and started in about not liking fishing, get me a fish Dad, etc. I started to explain a bit, but stopped short and just sat with him for a while. Stick to the sunnies for a while then. It wasn’t a bad time at all – in fact it was good… but a solid lesson for me too. Don’t rush things.

There were some interesting highlights over these days:

(1) The three of us were watching a pale mayfly fly by… and as we looked on, a swallow swooped through and sent it to its end.
(2) We also saw a fluttering caddis on the water… looking closely – great clarity – here comes salmo trutta, up from dark depth… not charging the fly, but rather approaching with purpose… plain as day we watch it tread water, hanging at a 45 degree angle… assess the caddis… determine: genuine… rise up quickly but not urgently and take fly. Very cool. There was an examination that took place there.
(3) Out of the blue, James quoted a John Prine line to me: stuck like the tick of a clock, that’s come unwound. Good sign there.
(4) Hit some parks for solid play time. Ate some cold pizza. Explored/scouted some trout water.
(5) Bluebells were in play.
(6) The one time I did fish with James: in ~30 minutes managed to catch three species on EHC: brook, brown, creek chub. The brown: heard him methodically rising in a little lane in a side channel… creeped (with kid in pack – see pic below of the slot) on knees over a depositional bar and peeked at him. Sure enough – feeding steady. Flipped EHC upstream – floated right over his head… ate it on first drift. James said let him go, then he said keep him. So I socked the fish on the head and eviscerated. James became pretty upset. This led to another prolonged streamside talk. Came out fine on the far end of the discussion. This is the rule: when we catch a fish, we can either let him go, or keep him to eat. - James
Little photo journal follows.















8 Comments:

Blogger Dick said...

A great time for you and the boys! Your blog looks great.

12:08 PM  
OpenID winonaflyfactory said...

I like the father/son rod picture. He will like that picture and the associated story/experience when he is older. Good to see you near water.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Trout Caviar said...

Wendy: I am glad that there are dads like you raising kids like yours. Thank you for that fine report. Wishing you all many happy days on the stream~ Brett

10:33 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Been a dad a long time.

Now a new generation is on it's way - continuing my line even longer.

Never read any more beautiful account about raising boys than this one you just wrote, Justin.

Got me thinking.

Wishing I had some of those kind of days back. I now know that this feeling goes with it all too - that longing for one more minute with them.

You can't every really expect to remember each fish or each lesson. You'll try. You just, someday, know you did your best. If you are lucky, someday, those now young show you that they are made of the same water, dirt, and fire as you, and those who carried the line to you.

And then you remember...each little lesson that was learned and passed on. And maybe you connect where it really came from and where you hope it is really going - if it be allowed - as it passes by, pool by pool, turn by turn, fish by fish, until one day, indeed, for us all "....it stops, like the tick of a clock that's come unwound."

9:09 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

Some fine comments and support offered here - thanks folks.

Interesting to note that I was trying to be full-on honest with that report: paint it as a learning experience. Sitting in that hotel, trying to get those rascals to calm down for the night... well - I wasn't thinking I was making my way into any sort of beautiful account there at that moment.

Taken as a whole though, it was a solid bonding weekend. It encourages me to hear that it is perceived as that by you all too.

Andrew - thanks for that well-written comment that should be a post in itself regarding 'notes on fatherhood.' You are a good man to consult with on those matters.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Royce Gracie said...

I think your guys will remember these times. I think some of our fondest memories are of dirt. Water is a bonus.

12:15 PM  
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