As I have always said: I love fishing. It's the catching I don't like. But K has been begging me to take him fishing and after four cub scout day camps, I felt ready to take it on myself. But, I must admit, there was with some fear in my heart as we headed out early one morning last week.
I did some online searches, and found that the Southeast Metropolitan park seemed like it might be the place to go. It has two ponds stocked with fish accessible via a short trail.
Early that morning K and I headed into Wal-Mart, purchased a cup of worms and a fishing license for me and then headed just east of the airport.
We found the primitive trail head at Southeast Metro Park fairly easily, parked the car, and started down the trail. It was about a fifteen minute hike down the trail to the first pond, including a water break halfway through on a conveniently placed bench. When we got to the first pond, we prepared our rods, and confidantly cast our worms. Immediately our bait was taken. We re-hooked another piece of worm, and cast again. Gone. Lather, rinse and repeat. I still am not sure how those darned little fish kept taking our bait, without biting the hook, but they did so for over an hour.
Somewhat frustrated, we headed two minutes down the trail to the next fishing pond. This one had a covered pier. Again, there were lots of small fish right under the pier that loved stealing our bait, but nothing hooked. We still had a great time, enjoyed the morning breeze, the gorgeous scenery and had the pond almost completely to ourselves (just a few joggers passed us by).
But after a fruitless hour, we somewhat dejectedly decided to call it quits and head home. As a last ditch hope, I convinced K to try one last time at the first pond. We threw our lines into the water and within two minutes, I had hooked our first fish. Then K caught one. Then K caught another. Then I caught one... All in all, we caught 16 fish in less than an hour. They were all bluegills and ranged in size from teeny tiny to pretty hefty (for a bluegill). It was very exciting and fun!
So, from my first trip fishing, here is what I learned: I brought along gardening/work gloves, and these made de-hooking the fish a lot easier. I would strongly recommend bringing a pair! We used both worms and corn as bait, but the fish seemed to prefer the worms. We did learn to only use a small piece of worm; the bigger the piece, the more likely it was to just get stolen. We also learned to thread our worms up the hook (with the hook through the mouth) rather than piercing the worm. This seemed to prevent the fish from stealing our bait.
Other things that were helpful: hat and sunscreen, water bottles, extra hooks and scissors (just in case we had an irretrievable snag) and of course a camera to capture our captures. Things I wish we had brought: wipes to clean our hands. (Yuck!) Fortunately, there was a restroom located conveniently near the head of the trail that we used to rinse off afterwards.
Things we might not have needed: the huge assortment of fake lures we had in our tacklebox, the corn (worms were plenty) and one of the rangers indicated that I might not have needed to purchase a fishing license. He said since the pond was catch and release, he didn't think it was necessary. He said I could call Travis Country Parks and Rec to verify this.