Sometimes a picture says it all. I want to introduce you to a future star in the world of fishing. His name is Hunter, he's two and a half, and he's kind of a big deal!
Friday afternoon I was joined on the ice by Hunter and his ever excited father Tom Dobbins. Earlier that morning I had a phone conversation with Tom, and he said Hunter was getting really excited because he told him they were going fishing. At less than three years of age, this is a big deal when you get to go fishing with dad. When you are named Hunter, it is even bigger, because you know what it means to fish. That's right, one of their favorite activities is to watch fishing shows together. Tom said its his favorite thing to do. I jumped at the chance when I heard Tom talk about his son. Experiencing that joy with a father and son just doesn't get any better.
After a fresh nap on his ride down to the lake, Hunter was ready to go. After poking a few holes on a favorite panfish spot, it was obvious that Hunter was chomping at the bit to wet a line. We scurried to find some active fish for him before we put his line in the water. The first fish up the hole, he proudly shouted, "Crappie!" The little fella even knew the difference in the fish we were catching. Pretty darn impressive!
Now it was Hunters turn. After putting the first line down, we quickly realized that all he wanted to do was reel up the fish. Even when they weren't on the end of his line. This happened a few times until we made a switch to the jiggle stick. Problem solved right? Well, maybe. See, he still wanted to set the hook and pull the line up as fast as he would set it down. Each time screaming, "Got One!" This made for a slight challenge, at least until an overly aggressive sunny grabbed hold. Then he really did have one! The tug on the end of his line was nothing short of spectacular. The smile on his face was even better!
His proud pappa looked on with great pride, as any father would do. Watching this whole process unfold, was my father about 10 yards away. I could see the enjoyment that he had in re-living past memories that we had once shared. At that moment, I knew exactly how he must have felt when I first screamed "Got One!"
Hunter was a multi-specie king, and managed a crappie to go along with his sunny. At two and a half, you aren't too eager to hold the fish, and they are all keepers. This means that you have to take his fish off, and he will tell you what he wants you to do with it. Part of the learning process I guess, but made for many laughs among us.
Our time on the water was short-lived but exciting. The fresh air got the best of Hunter and he was soon ready for another nap. Short and sweet, but fun was had, and the memories will surely be with us forever. Hunter was a riot, and there was never a dull moment for any of us. The excitement he brought at such a young age was as genuine as it gets. It can't be explained, you just have to witness it. As Tom and Hunter drove away, I smiled as my dad turned to me and said, "looks like Tom's got a new fishing partner!" Until next time, keep on livin' the dream!