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A Mom & Her Son's First Fishing Trip

Experience Fishing Program

Learn to fish on the stunning & historic French River! From hook baiting to catch and release, we'll show the ropes and get you hooked on fishing.
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(Photo: Samantha McKeag)

Sometimes it's about getting away from all of the distractions of daily life

"It wasn’t about the act of fishing; it was about sharing some one-on-one time with my little boy."



Fishing with my dad when I was a kid was always something I enjoyed; unfortunately, I have not yet had the opportunity to do it with my six-year-old son. So one morning, when he randomly asked me if we could go fishing, I jumped at the chance. And so began our journey…

Getting the Gear

(Photo: Northeastern Ontario Tourism)

I immediately told my son that I would, under no circumstances, be touching any worms or any fish. He told me he would do it, but I had to get him “fishing gloves.” We then searched for the fishing rod and tackle box I knew we had hiding somewhere, then we left for Canadian Tire. When we got there, the sun was shining and the sky was blue, and I suddenly felt excited to be spending some alone time with my little man.  

After roughly 15 minutes looking for the fishing bait aisle, we found an entire wall of bait. I had no idea what I was looking for; all I knew was that my son wanted something alive, and I wanted something cheap. Between the two aisles of products to choose from (overwhelming much?) there was a fridge of worms. The first time we walked past it, my son told me we needed to buy them. I said, “I am not paying for something I can pull out of the ground.” That was that.

Finally, we settled on a small bag of Berkley Gulp! Minnow Grub which were on sale for $4.99. Next, we needed to find “fishing gloves.” Honestly, I had assumed there would be kids' fishing gloves in the kids fishing area, but no. So we searchedthe pool aisle, the camping aisle, and so forth.

Again, we passed the worm fridge, again, he asked for them, and again I said, “Caelan, I am not spending money on something we can get for free.” His response this time was, “But we don’t have to pay for them. We can just take them.” I was shocked! So then began my mother’s rant about how nothing in this life is free, that we have to pay for everything we have, and we have to work hard for the money we have which is why we have to be careful with our money and what we spend it on, and that taking something that isn’t yours is called stealing and you would go to jail and then never be able to get a job and have to live with your parents forever.

Apparently, fishing gloves do not exist, so we tried the cleaning aisle hoping to find non-yellow dish gloves that we could disguise as fishing gloves. But was I able to find the dang cleaning aisle? No! So, for the third time, we passed the worm fridge. This time, my son insisted that we needed to get some. Irritated, I said, “Caelan. Forget about the worms.”

He says, “But mommy, we have to. We have to take all of them.”

I sigh, exasperated. “Why?”

“Because they’re cold and they’re going to die!”

My poor, sweet boy. The whole time, he hadn’t wanted to start a life of thievery, he had wanted to save them from dying of hypothermia! So then started my next mommy rant about the cycle of life and how everything on this earth is created for the purpose of self-sustainment and that we can’t allow ourselves to get involved in the natural cycle of things and that unfortunately for those worms, we are at the top of the food chain. Halfway through my rant, my son started counting Tupperware.  

Finally! The gloves. Unfortunately, the only ones I could find that may fit him were the blue ones with the fabric that starts at the wrist and would probably cover my son’s shoulders. But whatever. By this time, we’d been in the store for a half-hour, and we needed to get out of there!

Raining on Our Parade

A rainbow crests over the North Channel of Lake Huron.
(Photo: Northeastern Ontario Tourism)

Forty-five minutes later, we finally left the store. My son was so excited he was talking a mile a minute, but then, as we stepped out, it was pouring rain, the sky a thunderous black. 

We got into the truck, all the while my son stating how much he hates the weather man, he hates the clouds, and he’s never going to go fishing again, but I’m assessing the stormit’s very slowly rolling east. Maybe, just maybe, if we drove quickly we could beat the storm and get a few minutes of fishing in before the storm reached us. I lurched the truck into drive and flew towards the water (totally legally, of course), and we almost made it. But then came the rain.   

But what is rain? Well, it’s water, so I started in on my third mommy rant about positive thinking and my son stopped me, hopping out of the truck. We sat there for a good 30 minutes, soaking to our bones, and finally digressed, going home with our tails between our legs.

Finding the Silver Lining

The sun peaks over the French River.
(Photo: The New Fly Fisherman)

The following morning, I woke up to blue skies. Quickly, we got our things together, prepared this time, and made our way to the Cumberland docks. When we got there, the sky was still blue. For 15 minutes, we sat quietly in the same spot as before. We discussed the sun sparkling on the water, the water ripples, and listened to the birds. Just as I’m starting in on some life lesson, my son screamed: “Mommy, mommy, there’s something pulling my line.”

“That’s a fish!” I yelled.

I told him to crank it hard! But he couldn’t do it, and was getting frustrated. I stood behind him and put my hand over his, praying that it wasn’t stuck in a weed, or that it wasn’t a boot. We tugged, cranked, tugged, cranked, and finally, we saw it: the faint glimmer of a fish fin gliding through the surface of the water. So happy/excited/relieved for my son, I forgot about my ridiculous fear of slimy things and I pulled the fish up so that he could see. The look of pure joy on his face was pricelessit was definitely worth all the frustration and heartbreak from the day before.

We took a few pictures, ogled the fish, and then sent it back into the water. Although many people would ask why we’d go through all of that just to throw it back in, it wasn’t about the act of fishing, it was about sharing some one-on-one time with my little boy; my little boy who grows more with each day, who has the attitude of a 15-year-old, and who needs his mommy less and less every day. It was about being away from the TV, away from daily life, away from all distractions. Instead, it was about just being.  

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