I got a wild hair to take Jack fishing yesterday. The only problem was that I had absolutely no fishing gear anymore. I got home from work at about 5:15 and got Jack loaded up and out the door about 5:30. First we headed over to Poppy's house since he had told us over the weekend he might have a fishing rod and reel down in his basement. He was home and after digging around in a corner, he pulled out two old looking rods and handed them to us.
One was the kind with the thumb button that I'm more used to, and the other was the kind where the metal bar is pushed over to reel the line in. Neither was in very good shape, so I went with the one that was more familiar to me. So now I had a rod and reel, but it didn't have a hook or weights or anything on it.
So our next stop was the small convenience store next to the house that recently opened. I knew they had live bait, so I was hoping they might have a few hooks and basic gear. Unfortunately, they only had bait, so we left there headed to the place that is on my short list of most hated places on the planet. Yes. We went to Walmart.
For some reason the lot was fairly empty, and we we got inside I discovered why. They're remodeling the Hermitage Walmart, so a lot of the stuff inside is missing. We headed back to the fishing area and bought a small quantity of #4 hooks and a couple of bright orange bobbers, which Jack immediately became enamored of. Then I started looking around for some bait.
I had my mind set on getting some crickets. I'm not sure why or even how well they'd work on the Stones River, which is where we were planning to go. As I wandered around a bit, I finally saw an employee standing there with his hands on his hips.
"Do you guys sell crickets," I asked?
"Nope. We sure don't."
"Really? I could have sworn I've seen crickets in here before. Do you know where I can get any around here?"
"Nope. I have no clue."
At this point he walks off and disappears down an aisle. I walk around a corner and there's the Walmart cricket cage, tucked off to one side of the sporting goods counter. I looked around angrily for a minute, but of course I saw no sign of the oh so helpful Wally World Idget. The cage was empty anyway.
We paid for the hooks and bobbers and drove back to the house. I remembered I didn't have a license yet. I bought a Davidson County license online for 8 bucks and printed it out and put it in my wallet. Now we just needed bait. By this point it was a little after 7, so we were running out of daylight.
We drove back to the Circle B by the house and checked out their live bait situation. I told Jack we needed worms so he assumed I meant gummy worms and immediately ran over to that section to check them out and make a selection. The store had a few containers of nightcrawlers for about $2.50, and a smaller container of what looked like grubs for about a buck twenty-nine. I went with the cheaper option, grabbed a Diet Coke, and finally headed for the dam.
We got to the parking lot at the foot of the dam about 7:30. Jack calls it "The Waterfalls" because he thinks "dam" is a bad word and shouldn't say it. All four flood gates were open yesterday, so it did look like waterfalls. We headed down to the water and I put a hook on the line with the knot that I remembered my Uncle Sammy teaching me about 35 years ago. Then I put a bobber on and pulled out the bait.
Honestly, I wasn't really sure what these things were at the time. I thought they were grubs or something but they looked and felt more like centipedes since they had lots of legs. I finally found them online and they were mealworms, which are beetle larvae. I put one on a hook and went to cast it.
That's when I found out how bad of shape this old rod and reel were. The line wouldn't come out smooth so it was almost hopeless to try to cast it. It also only had about 25 feet of line left in it. So I ended up using it basically like an old cane pole and throwing it out as far as I could. Apparently the spot we chose was in an eddy, since the bait would drift upstream and back to the shore in about two minutes each time.
At this point though, I was just glad to actually be fishing. I let Jack hold it most of the time, but he has a hard time standing still so the bobber would wind up heading back towards us even faster. He also discovered that it's much more fun to throw rocks in the water than to stand there watching a bobber. Still, he had fun and wants to do it again.
No one seemed to be catching many fish that I could see. Two Mexican guys were sitting about 35 feet down the bank from us, and one of them was fishing with just a hook on a line wrapped around a plastic bottle. He pulled in a bass that was longer than my hand at least. It was a pretty fish. A few minutes later he pulled in a very small bream.
After about a half hour of watching the bobber drift back and forth, we loaded back up in the car and headed home just as it was getting dark. Our next step is to get on of the 12 dollar rod and reels from Wally World so we can actually cast out into the channel a bit. I put the remaining mealworms next to the turtle at home and when Marissa came home I said "Don't look at it!" It was too late though, she already had.