“Make sure you stage a picture,” my wife said to me as I walked out the door with car seat in hand.
“Don’t worry,” I replied. “I’m already planning on it.”
So it was, that after weeks of thinking about it, I finally made it happen: my first fishing trip with our daughter Jane. Stef had to work Saturday morning, so I figured that would be a good time to pack up the gear and Jane and head to a nearby lake for a few hours.
I met my brother, Scott, at the parking lot a little after seven and the place was already packed. Honestly, I thought we would beat the crowd. Of course, I also thought I would get there earlier than seven. After all, one of the “perks” of having an infant is her waking you up before the sun rises.
What I didn’t take into account was how much more needed to be packed into the car before leaving; extra diapers, extra wipes, at least two outfits, changing pad, bottles, blanket, the list goes on. Those of you who are parents of little ones, or remember back to the days when your kids were a few months old, are probably laughing pretty good right now. It’s amazing how much stuff someone so small needs in order to just leave the house!
At the lake, the one spot I hoped we could fish, one I have had some success at, was already taken. So was the other spot, and the other spot, and the other spot. Eventually, my brother and I settled on a corner we fished in the past, usually at night. It’s pretty shallow, with a gravel bottom and weedy shoreline, but not much else in the way of cover.
“We’ll be lucky if we get a couple bites,” I told him. “At least we’ll be in the shade till it’s time to go.”
For those of you who don’t know, it’s pretty well frowned upon to have little ones in direct sunlight and you can’t put sunscreen on them till they’re about six months old. Don’t ask me why, it’s what the doctor recommends and I’m not arguing with the doctor on this.
After we each made a couple of casts, I set Jane (who was still in her car seat) on the grass, grabbed my trout rod, tucked it under her arm while balancing it on the car seat and snapped a couple of quick pictures that I sent to my wife.
“Oh my God! I love these,” was her text message back.
The rest of the morning was spent alternating between quick casts, holding Jane, feeding Jane and changing Jane’s diapers. The latter was no easy task on a picnic table with a squirming 3-month-old, but we pulled it off without anyone taking any collateral damage so to speak. I also think there was a quick nap involved for both Jane and my brother.
Eventually, the sun was getting to a point in the sky where it was time to pack up and go. We never did get a bite and in a way I’m glad. Jane wouldn’t have that memory of her first fish and that’s not something I want to take from her. As it is, she won’t remember her first fishing trip with her dad, but her dad will. And the pictures I caught of her that morning are better than any fish we could have caught together.
* Jeff Herman is the assistant news director at WMAR | ABC2. His main passion while not at work is fishing. This column is part of a series of columns he writes for our outdoors page. You can read more of his columns here. Follow him on Twitter@JeffABC2News and @TightLinesABC2