Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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The chance a father has to give his son or daughter there first fish is a feeling matched by no other. Lets talk about your first fish, Your kids first fish, or somebody that you give that memory to. Im sure with all the awsume writers on this site that there is sure to be a few good reads on this discussion.

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What a great photo Mr. Mayo... Love at first bite...

A n t i c i p a t i o n...

That's the only word to describe how I felt the night before my first fishing trip... actually it's still a pretty good word to describe how I feel just before I go fishing these days too.

My family and I had moved from East London when I was about 10 years old... we moved to an area of England on the East coast, called East Anglia.... it consisted of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk mostly... beautiful farming country.

We lived in the town of Great Yarmouth in the county of Norfolk, right on the coast... I could see the North Sea from my bedroom window on the 4th floor of my Mum & Das boarding house. Me Da always wanted to listen to the news and weather on the radio while we ate supper... and if I heard there was going to be a storm that night... I would go up to my room and push my bed as close to the window as I could... turn off the lights and wait for the lightning show to begin. The Sea could get very rough... but it was still beautiful... everything would be pitch black and you couldn't see a thing... and then Crash... boom... Thunder and lightning... and when the lightning hit, it lit up everything and you could see the white caps exploding out to sea... and hear the powerful waves crashing on the beach. It was incredible.. Anyway I digress... sorry.

In Norfolk there were many shallow 7-9 ft lakes. (These were old peat moss strip mining fields). The Norfolk Broads as they are known are very popular with fisherman. We fish for Bream (quite different from your Bream, Brim, Bluegill) and Roach and Rudd.

My Dad and his best friend Uncle Dave (wasn't my real Uncle... it was just a respect thing we did in England) would go fishing early every Sunday Morning and would arrive home later in the day with tales of "the one that got away" and also the ones that didn't.

I used to pester me Da to take me fishing with him and he would just tousle my hair and say one day boy, when you get a bit bigger. I would try to walk away and keep my head up and not pout, but it was hard to do at times.

One Saturday night me Da was getting ready for bed and I was walking up the stairs behind him, and he asked me what I was doing.... "I'm going to bed Da"...
"I don't think that's a good idea", he said.... "if you sleep up in your room you will make too much noise coming down the stairs and you'll wake your Mum up in the morning.
If you want go fishing tomorrow... I think it's best if you sleep on the couch in the living room and I'll wake you up early and take you fishing with Uncle Dave and me"...
I couldn't believe it... I was going fishing...

I gave him a big kiss and rushed back down stairs with my pillow and a blanket.

Sleep.... aahhhh... sleep... what a wonderful thought... as hard as I tried I could not get to sleep... I tossed and turned and looked at the clock... 1 AM... 1:10 AM... 1:30 AM... it was the longest night of my life...

Out of sheer exhaustion I must have nodded off about 20 seconds before me Da woke me up. I was not familiar with the routine of how to get ready but I knew Da didn't like it if we disturbed me Mum. I just stayed out of the way and did what he asked... when he asked... and I did it quickly and quietly.

We drove to Ormesby Broad about 15 miles from my house. Looking back it was quite funny... Me Da is a big man 6'5" 260 lbs... Uncle dave not much smaller and me stuck in the back of a Mini Traveller (sister to the Mini Cooper) the inside of that car was wall to wall flesh and fishing gear.

We arrived at the lake and set up in front of the head lights... I can hear me Da saying,
"Don't forget to thread the line through your bail arm"...
"OK Da I won't" I heard myself say... then five minutes later I had to undo everything because I'd done exactly what he had told me not to.

The three of us rowed out onto the lake. The silence was deafening... all you could hear was the trickle of the water as it dripped from the oars and the 'swoosh' as Uncle Dave pulled back on them to propel us forward.

After about 15 minutes of rowing we tied up to a set of Birch poles... (these are two poles strategically placed about 15 feet apart, to which you tie the boat to. It was still dark and I heard Uncle Dave say... I'm gonna throw mine out and just hold the line... he did that and within 30 seconds I saw him arch his back and strike. He reeled in a 7 lb Common Bream... beautiful fish. I was getting very, very impatient.

We decided to wait until it got a bit lighter... three guys in a boat in the dark with three different sets of gear out there in the darkness... is a recipe for disaster... especially if the fish are hitting.

That was the longest 30 minutes of my life... I kept looking for the Sun to peer over the horizon and cast it's light just far enough for us to see our floats. I think the Sun was having breakfast... because it sure took it's sweet time. Finally... the Sun wiped it's chin clean of egg yolk and we felt it's wonderful warm touch on our skin and more importantly we could see the floats hanging from our rod tops.

I went to cast out and me Da gently grabbed my knee (like Da's do) and said,
"Me and Uncle Dave first boy, then I'll cast you out and you watch your float".

They were catching nice Bream almost every other cast... and I remember how easy they made the whole thing look. Long 12 foot rods in their hands... strike... raise the rod tip up... bring the fishes nose to the top of the water and when it rolls onto it's side... gently slide the landing net into the water under the fish and lift it into the boat. "Bring the fish to the net" my Da would say... "Never the net to the fish"...

I was watching my float... and it got taller... I had been looking at an inch of bright orange quill and it suddenly got 2 inches taller... I wanted to tell me Da but I thought... he'd think I was stupid... then the float layed flat on it's side... I hadn't had much sleep and I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me... the float stood back up and cocked to one side and then slowly moved off gliding gracefully away under the surface of the water.

My eyes were bulging... I was grabbing at my rod and reel whilst spilling coffee and sandwiches all over the boat... (lucky for me it was my coffee and sandwiches and not me Da's... or I wouldn't be here to share my first fishing trip with you folks).
Me Da gently grabbed my knee again (Like Da's do) and said, "Take your time, you are the fisherman ... he is the fish".

I landed a Bronze Bream about 3lbs. It was my first fish... and although I felt me Da had left me hanging by not helping me land it... I realize now that he knew that was the only way I was going to learn.

We had many fish that day and when we got back to the dock and spread the fish gently on the wet grass to have our pictures taken... Me... I was Neil Armstong... I had just walked on the moon... I had watched the Sun eat breakfast... I was kneeling between two of the best men I have ever known... amongst all these beautiful fish. Me Da gave me that look that said well done Boy... and on the way back to the car he tousled my hair again... "Want to come again next week"... I'd love to Da... if that's ok with you and Uncle Dave... "You can never have too many fisherman in the family boy"... he said with a big smile on his face.

I got into the car for the drive home... and fell fast asleep.. Me Da must have carried me from the car to my bed and layed me down... I was in wonder land... all I could see was my float sliding under the surface of the water.... all I could feel was that thump on the rod when you set the hook... I could smell the fish on my hands and the coffee on my jeans, and next Sunday seemed like a year away.

I was lucky enough to have a son of my own and I have tried to pass both the life lessons and the fishing lessons I learned from me Da and Uncle Dave onto him... He was impatient like me when he started out... but I would gently grab his knee (like Da's do)... and tell him... Take your time... you are the fisherman... he's the fish.

Thanks for the Memories Da and Uncle Dave... I miss you both very much...

Tight lines

Rob
My son's first fishing trip was the picture I posted yesterday he was four and a half at the time. We had gone shopping and he had wanted a fish rod. It was a kids setup about three feet long with a spincast reel. The next day I took him to the river baited the hook cast it out and prop it up on a stick. In about five minutes he was bored and started to play around. The brook suckers were real agreeable about swallowing the hook and catching them selves. My son at that point would reel them in. It was easier to just tie on a new hook instead of digging the other one out. After three sucers he got another fish that turned out to be a Thirteen inch rainbow trout. It was a great afternoon but after the trout he wanted to go home to show his mother.
I love it!
Fishing is the one thing my Father and I could always do together. He was a "difficult" man to be around at best. But he took me fishing, and when my skills passed his, he would listen. He fished to survive during the depression, sometimes sleeping on the boat he'd made himself if he'd not caught fish, becuase he knew that if he wasn't brining home fish, probably nothing to eat anyway. Also too proud to take food away from siblings if he didn't have anything to add to the meal. If I get to share his presence again, it'll be the first thing I thank him for, fishing. steve b
My Dad says that my first fish was a "puffer" fish on the Jersey shore.

I don't remember it, so I'll tell a brief tale of the first fish that I remember.

Let me preface the story by saying that this is my first real memory. I've never shared it with anybody. I'll tell it the way I remember it. There could even be some inconsistencies, but does it really matter? I may have little moments of memory from earlier in my life, but they're just flickers...fragments, with no order or certainty. This next story is real to me. In some ways more real than things that happened just days ago.

It's late March, 1968.

I’m in Orleans, Nebraska. Orleans is still a town with some vibrancy. It originally was a rail town. Money and goods came through town on a regular basis. Surrounded by farms, Orleans still has enough agricultural income to limp along for decades.

Yes, Orleans is a pretty cool place to visit.

My Grandpa and Grandma live in Orleans. I remember that they were always old. They did lots of things, but they were grandparents, so to me they were definitely old. Late 40’s, maybe 50. Might as well be 100 to me because I’m only four. Grandpa is a farmer, and Grandma is a farm wife. Grandpa is a mythical figure, with a long, lean look. When he has his cowboy hat on, he looks like he’s straight out of a western movie. Maybe he’s the guy by John Wayne’s side deciding when to attack or defend. He’s definitely all white hat. Grandma makes incredible homemade noodles. She’s also humble. So humble, that when she tells everybody it’s time to eat, she says that she hopes the food is good enough. We all know that it is.

It’s Friday night. The day before was warm and sultry for late March. It was probably 70 degrees and the wind blew and blew. Dad tells me that we’re going fishing in the morning. I’m so excited, that the memory is seared into my little 4 year old psyche. It’s time to go to sleep.

My Mom tucks me into bed. Bed at my Grandma’s is actually a crib. The crib has a nylon hexagonal pattern mesh that surrounds it on four sides. In reality I’m not sure that it’s a crib. I know that it folds up and can be put away until one of the grandkids comes to visit. Then the two sides are popped up with a quick “snap”, and it becomes a cage. I’m big enough to get out, but I don’t want to, because when I’m in the cage, I’m at my Grandma’s—and when I’m at my Grandma’s I’m happy. The house is big and roomy overall. When I’m much older I’ll realize that the house is practically microscopic. How did it seem so big?

When I wake up in the morning I hear a conversation. My Mom tells my Dad that I won’t be able to go fishing. The weather has turned bad. Somehow I’m now out of the cage and I’m looking out the picture window. There are clouds, and the trees are blowing the other direction now. There’s a little spit coming out of the clouds. I refuse to accept the fact that I won’t be able to go fishing.

Now I’m eating oatmeal. My Grandma makes it. My Grandpa is not there to join us because he’s already out doing the chores. My Dad has convinced my Mom that we will indeed be fishing. After all, he collected red worms the night before. My Mom is concerned about me getting too cold. The coat she puts on me has a fuzzy fake fur rim around it. I’m wearing black dress shoes, but I don’t know why.

Uncle Ernie has told us that the pond has bass and bluegill. The word “bass” conjures up some kind of image. An image like something that’s beyond attainability. It’s an image of something cartoonish, and jumping and mean. It’s on the front of the magazine at the Four-Star drug store. I can’t afford the magazine and Mom won’t buy it for me. I’ll later discover that my Mom and Dad didn’t have much money. By not buying the magazine they saved enough money to put me through dental school. I’ll never pay a penny for my education. I pay them back by doing their dental work for free. I pay them back by visiting them. I pay them back by giving my Dad his own pond and stocking it with whatever he wants. I pay them back by keeping their granddaughters safe and happy. I will pay them back by helping my daughters with their education. My girls will pay me back in their own way….Actually I guess they already have.

My Dad and I get in the car. It’s a 1966 Ford Fairlane. It’s dark blue and it cost them 2,000 bucks. It’s got a slant six. When you open the hood, and your Dad shows you how to adjust the timing, you mostly see asphalt. Someday I’ll own the car. It will be my first. I won’t appreciate it like I should. Dad and I make the long, long drive to the pond. I’ll later discover that the ride is about 800 yards, but I’m excited, so it seems to take a long time.

When we pull up to the pond, the wind is blowing so hard that there are whitecaps on the one acre of water. I remember that the water was brown. A four year old can barely stand up against the wind, so my Dad trudges out to the water’s edge, holding my hand. I don’t remember learning how to cast, but with my Dad’s help we heave the Zebco 404, and it’s heavy weight and wormy cargo about 60 feet. In my Dad’s hand materializes a red metal device that’s jammed into the ground. It’s a pole holder.

It’s too cold and miserable to stand outside so we return to the Fairlane. Why did my Dad take me out? The wind chill is maybe zero, tops. Does my Dad take me out because HE wants to fish? Or is it because he knows that I want to fish? Maybe it’s because he knows that someday I’ll buy him a pond and discuss bluegills and sit on a little plywood dock that I built for him with the help of a friend of mine who’s an attorney, but he needs money and works for me at 15 bucks an hour. It’s SO incredibly cold, but I remember being excited.

My Dad and I sit for an eternity in the car. I can’t remember if it was running or not, but we weren’t that cold in the car. We wait, and we wait. My hope is strong. I’m sure that a fish will bite. The rod stays in the rod holder for over an hour with the big bow of line bending back to the bank.

Nothing.

I can see the disappointment in my Dad’s face. He proclaims the contest over, and walks out to collect the pole. I’m still in the car watching him. As he starts reeling in the offering, he pauses, then calls out to me. I jump out of the car and run to him as he hands me the pole.

There’s a fish on the end of the line.

My Dad gives me gentle instructions, and after a brief battle I land a 12 inch bullhead. The hook is swallowed, and now out of somewhere my Dad produces a red elongated device that takes the hook out of its stomach. The fish is placed on a stringer and my Dad explains to me that maybe the bullhead had been hooked for quite some while.

Amazingly, this knowledge is used to produce a recognizable method. The line is kept tighter, and the tug of the bullheads becomes noticeable.

We catch dozens of bullheads, each of which becomes part of an ever more impressive stringer.

My Dad was a hero that day. He was only 25 years old, but he was a hero. He could have sat in that warm house and watched television. Or did Grandpa and Grandma even have a television yet? I don’t know—but the fact remains…Dad was a hero.
Good post. What I remember about my first fishing trip was it being extremely cold. My Dad asked me "do you want to go fishing tomorrow"? I got really excited YEAH, no more playing in the cooler when he brings fish home now I get to catch them. Tomorrow comes with 30 mph winds and freezing rain. He didn't want to take me fishing in that stuff, but I really wanted to go. Somehow I pursuaded him to take me fishing" he said I cried." We used a 14ft aluminum boat that I own now, fishing for Bluegills.
The memory I have that brings a smile to my Dads face is this..I didn't have the casting down yet, I guess my cast twenty feet into the trees wasn't good enough, he sure didn't think so. He takes out another pole, puts on a bobber, baits the hook and I remember him making his cast and snagging my winter hat flinging it into the water. He said "the look on my face was priceless". He called it the mad What did you do that for look!? Four years old without a hat I lasted about five minutes, so we started packing up to head home. he stopped and said "wait a minute wheres my other bobber" he finds the pole, picks it up and starts to reel it in, realizes it has a fish on it and yells " Eric you have a fish" I jumped up from my corner where I was hiding from the bitter cold, he hands me the pole and I started reeling it in, but the fish was TOO BIG... well he tells me I thought it was, I wanted to stop reeling he wouldn't let me stop, but he did help me reel the fish in towards the end and I finally caught my first fish, a sheephead "freshwater drum".
Now all I have say is." Hey remember the time you cast my hat into the water", and he still gets a big ole smirk on his face.
Plus all my recently posted pictures came from that same channel. I have fished it every year since.
THANKS DAD FOR ALL THE GREAT MEMORIES
My son just caught his first fish about a month ago. He's been with me fishing a number of times, but just hadn't been able to snag one. Well, he finally got one, and I don't think I've ever seen him so excited. At four years old he brought in an 8.5 in. blue gill all by himself. My first fish was a blue gill too, and it was so small I didn't even know I'd caught him. I just reeled in my pole and was very shocked to see a fish.
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Make sure to get that picture developed! You can just email the picture strait to walgreens or walmart and they develop and stick it in the mail for you. The biggest mistake alot of people make is I will get to it later and something ends up happining.... Computer bombs or lose the memory card etc. etc. etc. Thats gonna be a picture your gonna always look back on.

Congrats on the first fish Both of you
My first fish wer small chub minnows that were in the brook that ran through my fathers farm. My dad never had much time in the spring and summer to fish or take me fishing. As a matter of fact he just did not care for it. How it all started was an old telescoping metal fish pole I found in a tool shed. I think it was left there by a hired man. The end piece was missing, but it still served the purpose very well. An older fellow that helped my dad gave me a small bait casting reel some small hooks and a couple of split shot. My first tackle box was a prince albert pipe tabaco can with a metal key thing to open it.
I was ready to fish with out a lake at 6 years old my parents would not let me go to a pond alone. So I fished for chubb minnows. Most were caught by just the worm a quick snap and they were on the bank. At this point if I was quick I could grab them before they flopped back into the stream. Of course over time I lost that rod and reel.
The first bigger fish i caught were pearch caught on the ice
Wouldnt you love to have that old tackle box still?
Yes I would
Last year I was able to bring my little family up to the lake home owned by my father and a couple of his siblings. They recently inherited it from my late grandmother. I had been coming to this place as long as I can remember, and now my children are the 6th generation of our family to spend summers there.
Weeks before we went, I had put a fly rod in my sons hands and left him with it to practice his casting in my in-laws swimming pool. Leaving for work that day I looked over my shoulder and saw him already swinging it calmly overhead and laying the line down into the chlorinated water, it made my day.

Fathers day weekend we piled into the family truckster ala "Vacation" like Chevy and the rest of the Griswolds, and headed up north to the lake house. A weekend of sand, sun and solitude was on the agenda, along with some fishing of course.

Flash forward to the morning of Fathers Day. A quiet morning greeted me as I strolled down to the dock to drink my first cup of coffee and cast to few 'gills. I had also hoped I was early enough to tie into some late cruising bass that had not gotten enough to eat overnight.

I was fishing for about a hour or so when I hear the pitter patter of little feet behind me coming out on the dock. My son, who had just turned 5 that spring had seen daddy fishing many times, and as a matter of fact, he "gave" me my first fly rod combo 5 years earlier for fathers day. For being only 3 months old at the time, the kid knew how to give a gift!

I had brought the inexpensive fly rod that he had been practicing with along with in anticipation of him wanting to try it out. Sure enough he asked if he could fish with me, a question that ad only one answer - sweet Jesus yes you can!

I set him up with a fly we had tied together, a little bream popper painted like a ladybug with red marabou off the back. I stripped out about 10-12 feet of line and handed it over to him.
He carefully pinned the free line between his index finger and the cork handle and began to cast. Once again, slowly making loops over his head, letting the rod load up, and laying the line down in front of him. Now, I'm not sure if it was the first cast or one of the subsequent ones, but in short order his popper disappeared with a little audible " ploip!". He began to strip the line in, resisting the temptation to start reeling line in. Within a matter of seconds he had brought the fish to hand, and given me the best Fathers Day gift a man could ever ask for, a fishing buddy.

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