Mother's Day Fishing Trip

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Published on: May. 2, 2001

Last revision: Nov. 9, 2010

When my wife and I were first married, she wasn't very outdoorsy. She majored in wildlife management in college, but she hadn't had many good experiences in the wild. Her only memories of fishing, for example, were of long boring days sitting on a pond bank waiting for bites that never came. She didn't like the taste of fish or picking bones out of her teeth, so she wouldn't eat them.

I thought I could change my wife. We all know that violates the cardinal rule of marriage, but I had fond memories of fishing with my dad and my grandparents, and I wanted to create the same kind of memories for my new bride.

The first couple of years I couldn't get her to wet a line. Finally, when she was eight months pregnant with our first child, I asked her to let me take her fishing for Mother's Day. She's an "action-oriented," person, so we had to fish for something that would provide some action. The natural answer was bluegill. That may surprise some who consider bluegill as merely bait to catch something bigger, but the fact is you just can't beat bluegill for fun. They don't have sharp teeth, they're plentiful and, pound-for-pound, they are the scrappiest fighters alive. It is also pretty handy that Mother's Day occurs around the peak of the bluegill spawn.

For our trip, I chose a local state park where the bluegill are large and abundant. I bought my wife an ultra-light rod and reel, a handful of small bobbers and some ice fishing jigs. After digging enough earthworms to fill a can, we were in business.

Male bluegills build and guard nests in shallow water near stumps and logs. They strike at baits and other fish either because they are hungry or because they are defending their territory. This makes them easy to find and easy to catch. They frequently build nests in colonies, so where there's one, there's usually more. It didn't take us long to find such a spot.

I baited my wife's hook and pointed to a small stump about 10 yards away. With a flick of her wrist, the bobber and bait sailed out and smacked the water with a light "ker-plunk." The bobber disappeared almost immediately, but that fish got away. A bluegill has a delicate mouth, and a hard jerk will simply yank the bait away from it.

Her second cast plopped

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