Our first family fishing trip (and definitely not our last)

Our little boy has been asking to go fishing for months. He had never been fishing before, but he desperately wanted to go. When he received some money for Christmas, he went and bought a fishing rod, but we told him we couldn’t go fishing until the spring.
Since then he has asked many, many times when we can go fishing.

Finally spring came. But spring is such a busy season for us that we had trouble finding a day to go fishing. Then we finally hit a lazy Sunday. The sun was shining, the rod was ready, and the fish…well, we could only hope they would be biting.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to hope for, actually, but that’s what our children wanted.

My husband had been fishing a few times before, and I can spell fishing, so we were clearly the perfect parents to teach our children all about fishing. But just in case we lacked some know-how, John went online and found a place with ponds stocked with fish, where we could focus on catch-and-release, and where we could even rent extra rods for $5 each.
Since we have two children and only one rod, going to a place with extra rods seemed like a fantastic plan. So off we went to Fish-in Barrel.

As soon as we pulled in, I knew we were in the right place. It’s a farm with a few beautiful ponds.
Other families were sitting and fishing with their children, but there were adults and teens fishing, too.

Our boys couldn’t wait to get started. Although I think I’m a glass-half-full kind of person, somehow I hadn’t thought we would actually catch a fish. So I was shocked when within the first 15 minutes or so, our older son had a huge catfish on the line.
My husband helped him bring the fish in and then they released it. I didn’t get a good photo, so you just have to believe me when I say it was at least 6 feet long.

OK, so it was probably closer to 18 inches. Or maybe 12. But it was so exciting. And it turned out to be the only fish we caught that day. I thought that might be upsetting to the boy who fell in love with fishing even before he tried it.
But there was nothing disappointing about the whole experience. Both boys quickly learned how to cast their lines, and they fished in almost every part of every pond, as we moved from place to place, looking for fish.
We were surrounded by nature. It was peaceful and relaxing—especially when we didn’t catch more fish—and the people there were friendly.
At one point I caught our 6-year-old fisherman walking along the edge of the pond, humming the Andy Griffith theme song. He was in his element and completely content.

We came home without a fish, but with a fish story, which might be even better.
Now we can’t wait to go fishing again. I think we’re going to need to buy a second rod and maybe a third. But I think I’ll be OK just watching and cheering the fishermen on…at least for now.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.