As a parent you hear a lot of talk about the general apathy of kids getting involved in sport or other extra curricular activities for that matter. Competing with all manner of electronics, TV, DS, Playstation, Wii, iPhone, iPad, you name it. Add to that the current trend, as Mr Incredible puts it “to find ways to celebrate mediocrity” where kids aren’t encouraged to go out and be the best they can be, but instead we’re encouraged to make all kids feel good about themselves. Not allowed to score more than 3 goals in soccer, everyone gets man of the match on a roster system, and every kid gets a merit award at the end of year assembly. I’ve even heard of parents that won’t let their little so and so’s play sport on the weekend anymore because there’s too much focus on competition – you’re kidding right (oh shoosh Greg, enough of that).
So where am I going with all of this? We don’t have too much trouble with our three kids. Perhaps our 3 are the kids the other parents are talking about that are too competitive, but there’s healthy competition amongst them that drives them to strive for more.
Ben is our case in point. I’ve written before about his competitive nature. Without a word of a lie, a typical conversation can go like this. “Who won the footy (Roosters buddy, we smashed the Sharks 40-0), what was the score, how many runs did Michael Clarke score (not many son, that’s a sore point at the moment), do you think Robin Van Persie will score against the All Stars, CAN WE GO PLAY KICKS DAD? Is Sonny Bill Williams still injured, can we go to the Grand Final if the Roosters make it, hope I score with my left foot this weekend (Remember Ben you’re only allowed to score 3… ) how many fish did you catch dad, how much did the bag weigh, did Anja win at Hockey, who caught the most, CAN WE GO FISHING DAD…?
Well I love to take him fishing, but some days, it’s just not feasible to prepare the boat and get it on the water for a couple of hours, or maybe even one. Now, I’ve found a good option to take him for a quick fish for a few hours without all of the preparation of getting the boat ready.
Thanks to Justin, I’ve a new found passion to go Black Fishing. As we’ve come into winter, every week I give him a call “any weed around J”? And the other day he responded with an affirmative. An hour later, sport finished, lawns done, Justin, Ben and I were down by the water, watching floats, as the afternoon drifted by.
It was first cast and Justin had a fish in the net. I rigged a small rod for Ben to fish, with 3 lb straight through, a small float and some weed and cast it in for him. The beauty about the location we were fishing is that Ben could walk along the rock wall and follow the float as it got dragged along in the current. Watching intently for a bite.
While I was rigging the fly rod with a weed fly, I heard him yell out “I’m ON”. As I looked over he was winding as hard as he could, and his adversary was pulling as hard as it could, and eventually won the battle as it found it’s freedom in the reef. Hmm, 3lb fluoro probably wasn’t the best idea (In my defence though we were actually going to chase some little bream on bread and an unweighted hook). What a sight though, and to say he was dirty is an understatement.
Re-rigged and back to it, it wasn’t long before he hooked another fish, and another and landed them both – high fives all around! I’m impressed now that he can fight a fish on his own, and that his competitive nature shows through. Losing a fish during the fight is incentive to get straight back out there and give it another go.
On the way home that afternoon, Ben reminded me of the score. Justin 3, Ben 2, Dad 0. No excuses, other than retying, re rigging, untangling and re casting…
The day must have made an impression, because next day when Ben woke up, he wanted to go again. This time we asked my Dad, and together we spent a lovely afternoon fishing together. Three generations of us. I can’t remember the last time I fished with my Dad like that. In fact, truth be told, we’ve never fished like that. This was Dad’s first Blackfish trip, and he hooked up on the first and second fish. 2 – 0 and Ben wasn’t happy, but he managed to come back and bring the scores closer at 2-1 before the bite stopped.
Black fishing is a great fishing option with kids. It’s simple, and needn’t require massive investment. The bait gathering process is fun with the kids, and the visual nature of the fishing overcomes any chance of boredom. In our family, a little bit of healthy competition and banter also keeps the interest alive…