Catching first fish is a memorable experience

Catching your first fish is a big a deal. Unfortunately, I don’t remember mine and there is no record of it. Chances are, knowing my grandpa, I caught it before I could walk. So, when I have the chance to participate in someone catching their first fish, I like to try and make it a memorable experience. To set the stage for a special memory of a first fish, go fishing at a place you can return to in the future, and put some effort into capturing a quality photograph of the person with their first catch and the people involved. 

I was fortunate to have an opportunity to provide a first fish experience recently to a special seven-year-old girl, whose mother has been expressing to me a growing interest in nature and time spent outdoors. When I proposed the idea of taking her daughter fishing, everyone involved in the decision showed excitement, especially the child. 

We started in the front yard with a few casting instructions using a practice plug. It took her no time to start casting 20 to 30 feet accurately. I purchased a new Zebco 33 for the experience. This is likely the best-selling fishing reel of all time, for good reason. The basic push button design is simple to use, and the quality of the reel makes it reliable. It’s perfect for kids or any beginning angler. When you push the button, you can count on it to work. 

The new reel was mounted on an old rod that one of my daughters had as a kid. Both of my girls have outgrown the colorful Bass Pro Shops casting rods of their youth. They have graduated to more complex spinning outfits. Making it a good time to share the magic and put one of their old rods in the hands of a little girl who could appreciate the childlike design while feeling the pull of her first fish. 

I clearly remember my oldest daughter’s first fish. We were fishing a private strip pit in Linton, Indiana. The little lake was full of fish. There was no question about whether she would catch a fish or not. The questions were simply when, where and how. She was still little enough to be using a Barbie pole. One of the little 3-footer types. We went simple with a bobber, sinker, hook, and worm. She caught a big, beautiful bluegill from the shore right in front of the little cabin we were staying in. We took a picture, but I was wearing an old t-shirt with the sleeves torn off. I wish I’d had a little more foresight to capture a better image.

Sadly, I must admit that I don’t remember my youngest daughter’s first fish. I suppose such is the case too often for younger siblings. While there are plenty of memories special to her, for some reason the first fish memory eludes me.  I suppose we were fishing often enough to have the experience blend into a big pool of fish. I have numerous photos of her with early-on fish, but I don’t know which one was first. 

This most recent experience with the young girl I took fishing was not one I would allow to be forgotten. I made sure we were prepared to create a special memory. We went to my aunt and uncle’s land, where they have a beautiful pond in which they stock and manage fish. On the way there, I was telling her that she was going to catch her first fish today. With big smiles and cheer in her voice, she proceeded to tell me I could not predict the future. To which I replied, “oh, yes I can.”

I was surprised she didn’t catch a fish on her first cast, but she did on her second. A very nice redear sunfish. Watching her face light up and hearing the excitement in her voice as she cranked on the reel and dragged the fish into the grass had to be just as exciting for me as it. These are the moments outdoors I live for now. 

See you down the trail…
Brandon Butler
bbutler@driftwoodoutdoors.com

Pic: Catching your first fish is a big deal, as this little girl’s smile shows.  

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