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Bob McMillanAn Opinion

By Bob McMillan
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Fishing With Grandchildren

If you have grandchildren, one great event, which will never be forgotten is a few hours fishing. Several weeks ago, while in Florida, five of my grandchildren joined my son, Ken, and me on a fishing “expedition.” His son, Jack (6), along with four grandchildren who live in Florida, Owen (10), Neil (8), Erica (8) and Sabrina (6), went out on Sea Magic Too for a fun experience.

Before getting into the details about the “expedition” take a look with me at some statistics relating to pleasure fishing in the United States. First, over 40 million people in our country regularly fish for pleasure. They spend over $45 billion each year to purchase fishing gear, bait, rods, reels, and other gear used while fishing. Next, there are over 13 million pleasure boats in the United States with most of the vessels used for fun fishing.

Now, back to the “expedition” with my grandchildren. The event had been planned for several weeks because of the visit of my son with Jack. It is difficult for me to fully describe the excitement and chatter as we went out on to the dock and put on life jackets. One negative was the wind, which caused Charlotte Harbor to be somewhat choppy. Because of the rough water, we decided to go behind a nearby island, which blocked most of the wind. The selected site did make the water a little calmer.

With live shrimp as bait, the lines were all set and the fishing started. Casting with seven people on the boat had to be handled carefully, but all the children did well with no one caught by any of the hooks. Everyone was patient and worked diligently to catch fish.

For over 40 minutes, the only thing happening was bait being nibbled away. Then, Neil said, “I have something.” All eyes focused on his rod as he reeled in the fish. The pole bent over and Neil struggled with the reel.

Finally, after some four or five minutes, we could spot the fish. It was a sting ray. When the fish was identified there were shrieks from all the children.

Let me explain. Last Spring my daughter, Karen, caught a sting ray off the dock at our condo. The sting ray stung her severely. She had to go to the hospital after bleeding all over the dock. Her two boys, Neil and Owen, were shocked by the incident. It was decided, based on that incident, that if another sting ray was caught, we would just “cut the line.”

Now back to the “expedition.” When the cries stopped, almost all of the grandchildren in unison shouted, “Cut the Line.” My son immediately cut the line before the sting ray was brought into the boat.

The memories of our fishing “expedition” will remain with all of us over the years – not just because of the sting ray – but because of the fun and memories of that great day.



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