The other day I had the most enjoyable fishing trip of the year because I got to fish with two of my favorite people - granddaughters Alexis, 11, and Savannah, 5.
Like most families, our lives seem to be overfilled with activities, and sometimes weeks pass before we realize we're skipping some of the really important stuff.
Their brother, Lachlan, 8, had something else he wanted to do, so only the girls and I climbed into my truck to fish for a couple of hours at a little lake before they had to rehearse for the play they'll be in next month.
It was too sunny for my liking, but we pulled out a spinning rod and night crawlers and a fly rod rigged with a sponge spider.
The fishing gods were smiling on us because although the worms didn't draw a lot of attention, that spider apparently was the sunfish equivalent of a hot fudge sundae with a cherry on top.
A few twitches along the surface were usually enough to induce a boil of water that marked a strike. The fish were not only aggressive, but a lot of them were also big. The handles of my rods have marks on them, and six of the 14 fish we caught in 90 minutes were nine to 101â4 inches.
Lexie is an old hand at fishing, although she sometimes won't listen to the old guy and puts too much pressure on at the wrong moment. But that's the way kids learn, and though I had to bite my lips almost to bleeding a couple of times to keep myself from grabbing the rod, she lost only a couple and landed some staggeringly beautiful sunfish and a big rock bass.
Vanny, our mobile disaster area, also did a great job. Her face scrunched up in concentration as she wound the handle gamely and clung grimly to the 9-foot rod.
At one point she was chasing minnows in the shallows in front of me, completely soaked from head to foot. It was then that I recognized the source of a splash I'd heard a couple of minutes before.
We had a wonderful time. We admired the fantastic powder blue and brilliant orange colors on the breeding male bluegills and discussed the difference between them and the far-less-colorful females.
We felt the slime coat on fish and learned how to handle and release them.
We found living snails and stalked minnows and cleaned up about 50 feet of monofilament that some jerk had left in the shallows to harm some hapless wading bird. Even Shelby, their dog, had a wonderful time, sniffing new smells and rolling in the knee-high grass.
As I said, it was a fantastic afternoon, and it made me think that I should take a little time to mention it to other people.