Fishing With Violet: Pictures Of A Dad And Daughter

Me and Violet on the river.

I’ve been fishing pretty much since I was knee-high to my Easy Bake Oven.

My dad took me when I was just a little boy. It was one of the only things we ever did together; getting up early on Saturday mornings, throwing our poles and tackle boxes in the rusted bed of his pick-up. Looking back now, I know that I was genuinely thrilled to be going after the smallmouth bass in the river where we fished and all, but there was a lot more to it, to our fishing days, than he or  I ever managed to realize way back then, in the middle of it all.

When we were going fishing, Friday night’s were almost too much for me to stand.

I’d pour over my tattered tackle box, moving plastic worms around and peeling their molded melted bodies from the tiny compartments on the elevated levels where they had sat unfettered since our last outing. All the fake rubber minnows and lead-head hooks and shiny silver spinners dressed up with a little bit of glitter and a little bit of feather, like some South Broad Street lady of the night, all those things my mom had bought me over the past few years, as my love affair grew, each time we had walked by the Woolworth’s at the mall and I had accosted her for just one more bass plug or just one last jar of salmon eggs, all of those treasures that I kept buried in that tackle box/treasure chest, I would break them out on those certain spring or summer Friday nights and lose myself in the damn magic of something wildly elusive and awesome and free.

It was never about catching any damn fish, I know that now. And, I guess a part of me even knew that then, because I was always just as excited when my dad wrestled his old rig into the parking lot of the 7-11 just two country miles from where we turned down the old river road.

I still remember him letting me get whatever I wanted: a cellophane-wrapped hoagie made by some yawning graveyard clerk with a heavy oregano hand, A Rachel’s Brownie rich enough to wedge a neutral tire, BBQ chips, a can of Coke, two original Slim Jims that came together in one pack.

We caught bass. Him more than me. I’d watch him way upstream, the early morning flecks of sun sparkling like pooping bottles as another thirteen-incher flung itself out of the cool morning river, my dad’s spinner in it’s jaw.

Mostly, I tried hard and was happy with a bass or two. I had my brownie to think about though, and my sandwich and stuff, so I was fine though, you know?

Fishing is a magical pursuit. Beyond all of the nature stuff, and all the freedom of the rivers and the lakes hullabaloo, there is something about fishing with your dad or mom or your older brother or your uncle or your granny or anyone in the freaking world who cares enough about you to take you, even if it’s just for now and not forever, something that takes kid’s spirits and torches them with anticipation and giddy excitement.

Taking a kid fishing is like rearranging the sky above their heads. It’s the closest you can probably ever get to spelling out “I love you kiddo” with the faraway clouds.

And if, or when,  the wind blows it all away, if you are still game…you can take ’em again and again and again.

  • Young and Wild and Free 1 of 22
    Young and Wild and Free
    There is no age limit for fishing. You don't have to be sixteen or twenty one. We started bringing Violet when she was just four months old.
  • Happy Dad 2 of 22
    Happy Dad
    I have to admit, the first few times that Violet came out with her mom to watch me fish, I was so excited that I barely stopped grinning.
  • Get On Board 3 of 22
    Get On Board
    Sometimes, it is cool just to have a kid along for the ride, you know? When they are really young, they might not have much interest in fishing, but you can be sure that they'll dig being outdoors with you.
  • Breathing It In 4 of 22
    Breathing It In
    Fresh fresh air. Despite what they might tell you, there is no app for that.
  • Rock Child 5 of 22
    Rock Child
    Violet absolutely loves to sit out on the sunny riverbank with her mom and play with rocks while dad fishes nearby. And it always makes me smile to look over and catch a glimpse of her over there. And our son Henry too, now!
  • Curious Minds 6 of 22
    Curious Minds
    Fishing, rivers, lakes, poles, bait, woods, rocks...they all inspire curiosity in a child. And straight up: that is the best gift we can ever give them
  • Waving The Wand 7 of 22
    Waving The Wand
    There are times, after I've fished for a while, when I have a blast just sitting with Violet and helping her pretend she's casting the fly rod or whatever. It doesn't even matter if we're actually fishing or not.
  • I Got One! 8 of 22
    I Got One!
    Of course, I can't lie here. The times when I did land a few trout and was able to reel them in for Violet to see...those are some of my proudest moments in life so far.
  • The Big One! 9 of 22
    The Big One!
    Still, the biggest catch of the day is always the kid and the cool memories you're all making every second that you're out there 'fishing' together
  • Earth Child 10 of 22
    Earth Child
    We spend so much of our lives in bustling form that it's really nice to just be outside in a beautiful quiet place for a while. I think that kids exposed to such places when they're young will want to know those types of places for the rest of their lives.
  • ‘Can I Try, Daddy?’ 11 of 22
    'Can I Try, Daddy?'
    No matter how much you might like fishing (or anything for that matter) and no matter how expensive your gear is, do not hesitate or forget to involve kids in the whole process. Chances are, they won't be to interested when they are still young, but as time goes by...your time and effort will likely be rewarded with the best fishing buddy around.
  • Picture This 12 of 22
    Picture This
    Don't forget your camera, whatever you do. I can honestly say that some of my favorite photos of Violet are the ones her mom has snapped while we are out fishing together.
  • Don’t Force It 13 of 22
    Don't Force It
    At first, Violet wasn't super thrilled at the sight of a trout, so I just eased it back in the stream and kept on fishing. Later, though she became more curious on her own and that was fun. Worms, fish, bugs...if the kids are not into it, just move on and don't worry about it. Chances are, you're still all having a great day.
  • Snack Me! 14 of 22
    Snack Me!
    Take it from the guy who used to get a rapid heart beat at seven years old when my dad took me to 7-11 before fishing: snacks are a real good idea! Bring some juice boxes and cheese and crackers...whatever...just have a little 'shore lunch' ready to go and you'll have another instant memory plus everyone will remain happy. Trust me.
  • Fishin’ Mama 15 of 22
    Fishin' Mama
    Encourage Mom to come along, even if fishing isn't really her thing. My wife, Monica, was the one who actually brought Violet out to the river to visit Dad a lot of the times and I am so thankful for that. I know she could care less about trout or flies, but still she always ended up having a peaceful cool time. Plus, in all honesty, when kids are young, having extra helping hands is huge.
  • River Talk 16 of 22
    River Talk
    Obviously, we all teach our kids about respecting water and the dangers of it in our own way. My own advice is to be firm and thorough, but also patient as a saint. Kids are super curious about water and so as long as you are there to help them realize that it needs to be respected, things should ultimately get to where they 'get it'.
  • Time Bandits 17 of 22
    Time Bandits
    Time might go so fast when you are out fishing with a child that you blinked and the day was over. Still, sometimes kids are more prone to a bit of restlessness before we are. So, if the young ones seem 'over it' for the day, don't press the issue. There will be other fishing trips. Let them know that you loved hanging with them and that you're ready to go if they are.
  • True Grit 18 of 22
    True Grit
    I think that fishing brings out the best in us, young and old. We can laugh and relax and enjoy each others company...or we can find ourselves in the most Zen of all places, alone and happy to be so.
  • Looking At Clouds And Birds And Planes 19 of 22
    Looking At Clouds And Birds And Planes
    Often, when Violet is fishing with me, we spend as much time staring at the sky or the treetops or the muskrats or squirrels as we do anything else. And that's just perfect, really.
  • Captain Hookless 20 of 22
    Captain Hookless
    When my daughter noticed the pretty fly I had tied to the end of my leader, I just snipped off the hook with some pliers and let her play with it for like an hour. Hey...whatever keeps her interested!
  • Keepin’ It Real 21 of 22
    Keepin' It Real
    Keeping it real and simple are the best ways to go fishing with kids, I reckon. Some snacks, a lot of patience, a willingness to let them lead the day, even if it means no fish are ever threatened at all, that usually spells out the best fishing trips for me and Violet.
  • Tired Eyes 22 of 22
    Tired Eyes
    Fishing with kids is probably one of the top four or five things you can do on this Earth, says me. And looking at their exhausted smiles and their weary eyes as you pack up to head home after a day on the water, I'll bet you agree with me in the end.


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