The Rod Thief

by Troutrageous1 - The author of Troutrageous!
Contest entry for Burton Treble Yell Pack.  See contest details.

Mayan Cichlid and Cars Fishing Pole
About a year and a half ago I was very fortunate to have a 3 year old daughter very excited about buying her first fishing rod and going fishing with Daddy. For someone who loves fishing, sharing it with my daughter was a dream come true.

We celebrated Lilly’s birthday in Florida at her grandparents’ house(my in-laws). I may be one of the few men who don’t mind visiting the in-laws frequently. First, we do get along relatively well, and second, a freshwater canal runs right behind their house that holds some really nice fish!

Upon opening her birthday presents, Lilly beamed when she saw her red & yellow ‘Lightning McQueen’ fishing rod. She happened to be in a brief ‘Disney Cars’ phase at the time, today it’s all about pink and princesses. We quickly ran out back and rigged up her rod with a bobber, hook, and a chunk of bread as she was rearing to go and didn’t want to wait. Second cast – BAM – Lilly caught her first fish, a nice chunky Mayan Cichlid. She had to be thinking, “this fishing is easy.”

Daddy helped her reel in her first fish, but now that she had the hang of it, she insisted on doing it all by herself the next time. This is when the fun started.

The next cast, Lilly hooked yet another fish. However this time, I’m not sure if the “take” startled her, or this fish was just strong, but it ripped the rod right out of her hand. We watched Lightning McQueen slowly swim (get towed) away, and then sink to the bottom of the canal. Of course, as common with 3 year olds, tears immediately ensued.

So what to do now? The birthday girl just lost her prized present and was bawling her eyes out. “The fish stole my rod!” is what she kept repeating. Ok…everybody piled into the car and headed off to Target, the closest store that carried that kind of stuff. We got a pink ‘Barbie’ rod at Target, but Lilly was bummed – the excitement of catching her first fish had all but vanished – and when we got back to the house, had no interest in trying again.

The next morning while the family was sleeping in, I got up early and strolled into the backyard and was watching some ducks swimming in the canal. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed something very small about 60 feet away floating in the water. It was red & white – could it be the bobber from Lilly’s rod? Perhaps yesterday’s fish kicked the hook? It was time to find out.

I ran into the garage to grab my inshore spinning rod. Tied on a heavy plastic worm weight to get some distance, and casted toward that little bobber. Cast one, no good. Cast two, BINGO! I was able to snag the line that the bobber was attached to and started reeling it in. Once close to the bank, I grabbed the bobber, pulled up, kept pulling…and pulling…and found Lightning McQueen staring right back at me through the algae muck.

After a quick hose down I went inside and woke Lilly up. Told her I had a surprise. She walked outside and her face lit up larger than life. I probably got the biggest hug ever - that moment was amazing.

I asked Lilly if she wanted me to get some bread for her hook. She said yes, so I went and got some and baited her hook. First cast, FISH ON, and she didn’t need Daddy’s help this time

~Troutrageous1

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