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Change of Pace

Hooked on fishing — one cast, worm, puddle at a time

Son has plenty of mostly true tales to tell
By Holly Vanorse Spicer | Nov 17, 2020
Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer Carter Spicer — with his catch of the day.

It started with a cheap, plastic play fishing set from Ocean State Job Lot. The kind where the pole never quite stayed together, and the little fishies lost their magnets the fifth time they got wet.

Oh, and about 700 mud puddles. The perks of having a 100-meter long dirt driveway.

My son, Carter, was two the summer I was in Ocean State grabbing a few things, and I saw the fishing pole set. He loved being outside, loved even more playing in our endless supply of mud puddles.

This summer, we decided it was finally time to take him for the real thing.

I do not know who was more excited over the prospect of this new adventure, Carter, my husband, Justin, or one of my husband’s good friends, Will.

Unfortunately, this summer, everyone else also got the idea to head out on fishing trips. Finding poles was quickly determined to be a task.

My husband found the perfect "Paw Patrol" one online, and when it came, Carter immediately spent almost a full hour in the yard practicing his casting.

It did not take him long to get the hang of it.

By the time his "Paw Patrol" tackle box showed up, he was ready.

That first fishing trip was a boys trip. Carter, Justin, and Will piled into Will’s boat and set out on Megunticook River.

When I had realized almost five hours had passed, I figured it either failed miserably, and they found something else to do that was entertaining them.

Or, the trip had been a success.

When they got home, the report from the smallest of the group was hard to understand between his sheer exhaustion, and excitement.

Justin, acting as translator, said they had caught five fish. He also mentioned that while Carter would not hesitate to stick the worm on the hook — he would not touch any of the fish.

He also ate everyone else’s snacks, and none of his own.

I did not think anything would top the excitement of that day, but when they went out again the following weekend, they came home with dinner.

Carter’s energy was contagious. So contagious, in fact, that when that third weekend rolled around, and I was beckoned to fill in as the third fisher that day, I forgot that I stopped fishing myself because it was boring.

I enjoy quiet, stillness, moments of nothing, but fishing has never been that for me. Sitting in my hammock? Sure. Relaxing on the beach in a chair? That is a perfect moment for me.

Not staring so long at that point in the plane where fishing pole ends, and the line drops into the water, waiting for a bite.

There are just some things my endless amounts of patience do not touch.

I also could not stop the list from manifesting in my brain of all the many things I needed to get done. And having the few hours in the afternoon without extra bodies making mess, tracking in buckets of dirt, dropping crumb trails, or the 500 times an hour small children feel like the world is too big and cannot even button their shorts back up, I knew I could plow through that list of things to do with ease.

Next thing I know, I am at Walmart, getting my fishing license, and picking out a new pole, because mine grew legs and walked off about 14 years ago

It was a miserable adventure, for all parties involved.

Unlike the last two trips, this one would stick to the shore. My kayak is just an open top, one-seater, and fishing from the top of my paddleboard would have ended up a very soggy adventure.

Between two fishing spots, the only thing that was caught was leeches — and it is safe to say, the child was less than impressed with a leg covered in baby leeches, a branch, and a very small fish.

After that, it would not take much to improve the overall experience.

Listening to my suggestion the next go-around, the following weekend, we went to Chickawaukee Pond, just off of Route 17 at the pull off.

There, I caught two, and Carter caught three. Or maybe it was Justin that caught them. I think the actual catcher of the three is up for debate.

The fun thing about doing anything with a small child is — they are game for it while you are planning, they get excited while you are packing up for the adventure, and for the first 10 or so minutes, that excitement peaks. After that?

You are wondering if the loop between the legs on the life-vest will go long enough to loop around the log they are bouncing, jumping, climbing all over, and throwing rocks into the water from.

Anything to keep them still for a moment, anything to keep them quiet for a second, and keep their hands occupied long enough to stop scaring away the fish.

The best part of these fishing trips was — we learned Carter likes to talk a big game.

He is a storyteller, which could point to trouble when he is a teenager, regardless of how amusing it is right now.

So this should not be such a surprise to us, or anyone who knows him. He likes to tell tales.

He never fibbed about how many fish caught, but he liked to leave out parts where he wandered off, or made dad tend to his line because he was done with it for any random length of time. He also fibbed about who did the work to catch the fish.

We had our last fishing adventure the weekend before he started kindergarten. We made that weekend a big hoorah, go out with a bang.

We went mini-golfing on Saturday where Andre the Seal hangs out over by the hospital. Made the biggest sandcastle of the season at the beach. And, before I had to go to a Waldoboro coed softball game for photos, we went to Hosmer Pond in Camden to see who could catch the most fish.

It was mom.

I caught four fish, and even snagged a sweet video of a duck family playing along the shore, and wiggling their butts in the air as they poked their heads under the water (watch video below).

Carter, or dad, caught two. Carter spent the morning in the reeds and lily pads. On his own line, Justin with just one or two casts that morning, did not have much luck.

That little "Paw Patrol" pole though, Justin had more luck with that than his own.

Once school started, our schedules got busier, and we have not been able to get back out there again. Carter still likes to practice his cast in the yard, and talks about the next time we go.

The house may have taken a little longer to get cleaned the days we went, my training may have been held off a day, but in the end, it was worth it. Our schedules pull us so many ways, dinner is usually the only guaranteed time we have together as a family. Fishing gave us a little more time last summer.

Ducks at Hosmer Pond
Ducks swimming at Hosmer Pond in Camden. (Video by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
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