I love the idea of fishing. Sitting peacefully on a boat somewhere in the middle of a lake, taking in the sights and smells of nature while waiting for the big one to take a bite. I even think casting a fly over and over while waist high in a river sounds like a great time. Its the whole killing a fish concept that I can’t get past.
I know. I’m a hypocrite. I eat meat every day and can’t see myself giving up my carnivorous habits any time soon. Truth is- I can’t kill anything. The other day I actually fished a bee out of the pool so it wouldn’t drown. So when the Snowcreek Resort invited my family up for their annual Children’s Fishing Festival, I was a it apprehensive. I knew I would be doing my children a disservice if I didn’t let them participate in a classic outdoor activity and I certainly didn’t want to miss and opportunity to head up to Mammoth for the weekend. I took a deep breath, promised myself I would survive, and signed the kids up. This was the Children’s Fishing Festival after all, how painful could it be?
As we headed up Highway 395, my kids were extremely excited about the next day’s fishing endeavor. Over and over they reminded me that they wanted to catch a fish, kill it, and eat it. Great. So I guess catch and release was out of the question.
We arrived at the Children’s Fishing Festival at the Snowcreek Ponds and I was surprised to see just how popular it was. The street was lined with minivans and SUV’s. We checked in and were handed our poles, which are loaned to all children during the festival, free of charge. We were also given a little dixie cup filled with stinky orange goop, which I could only assume was the bait. I looked at my husband and asked “Do you know how to cast a line?” “Nope. I don’t fish. Do you have a clue?” “Nope.” So now what?
Luckily, there were plenty of volunteers scattered around the shore who were happy to help us clueless (and slightly embarrassed) city folk. They truly were a wealth of knowledge and before long we were baiting and casting with the best of them.
Truth be told, we didn’t really trust our kids with the whole casting portion of the fishing experience. There were way too many people in the area and the last thing I wanted was to hook some innocent bystander in the eye. Luckily, the kids did a great job and were pros at slowly bringing the line back in and waiting for a bite.
Before long, Mari had a tug on her line! I helped her slowly bring the fish in and the volunteer caught it with his net so he could remove the hook. I asked Mari if she wanted to throw it back. She looked at me like I was crazy! No way. That sucker was hers. “I want to eat it!” she told me with a face full of beaming pride. Paul and I shuddered at the sight of the fish flopping in her plastic bag. I felt like I was going to throw up. I thought back to the time I had to smile and pretend I was enjoying my time on a ski lift for the sake of my children even thought I was absolutely scared out of my mind. If I could handle that, I could handle this.
We took the fish over to be gutted (puke) and then returned to see if Ben had had any luck. Just as we returned, he got a bite! He pulled in the biggest fish of the day. The entire pond erupted with cheers and the volunteer pried the hook out of the fish's mouth. The fish, however, was not going down that easy. He jumped right out of the net and back into the pond. I was quite pleased. Ben was not. He wanted his dang fish back!
We stood on the shore and cast and recast, hoping to catch something. After an hour of no luck, we convinced Ben to opt our of the fishing and go for some ice cream instead. I felt better knowing we had only sacrificed one life for the enjoyment of our children that day.
Mari didn’t stop talking about her fish for the next three days. She checked on it in our condo’s freezer about 7 times a day and reminded us that she was going to eat it. We ended up buying a cheap cooler to get the dang fish back down the mountain and into our freezer where it has taken up permanent residence. I can’t bring myself to cook the thing. It just stares at me with those eyes….
Truth be told, I am so glad we took the kids fishing. They really enjoyed it and except for the whole dead fish part, us adults had alot of fun as well. We decided that we could definitely start doing the catch and release fishing more often (if we can convince the kids of the release portion of the activity) and are very grateful for the knowledge and experience the people at Snowcreek gave our family.
If you want to take your kids out for a fishing adventure, be sure to check out the Children’s Fishing Festival in Mammoth next July. Its so much fun and children of all ages are welcome to attend. I highly recommend Mammoth as a family friendly summer destination and Snowcreek Resort as a great place for families to visit (be sure to read my full review of Snowcreek Resort on Trekaroo here).