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Delana's Day

As winter starts to lose it's grip on us here in the Cedar Valley I naturally start to think about spring and all the excitement that brings for me. From Shed hunting to transitioning to Spring Turkey hunting, Morel Mushroom hunting, and of course my favorite, tournament bass fishing! But before I close the door on another winter season, I like to reflect upon my winter adventures. In this week's article I want to tell you about my favorite Ice fishing trip of this past season.

Every winter I get out ice fishing as much as time and my wife, will allow. With that being said, I manage to get out a lot because I married a rock star in my wife Aubrey when it comes to her understanding my passions and pursuing them. I usually wait for my seven year old daughter Delana to ask me if she can go. As much as I want her to love the outdoors like I do, I don't push her. Well, by February she still had not asked me if I would take her. Wondering why, I asked "Delana would you like to go ice fishing?" " I thought you'd never ask dad" Delana said excitedly.

So the next morning the trip was planned. While Delana isn't an early riser like her dad, she was up before the alarm and ready to go before I went to get her up. She helped me load everything in the truck including her bucket to sit on, "Don't forget my bucket this time dad" she said laughing. I guess on a previous trip I had a dad fai.

After loading the truck we stopped at the convenience store and picked up donuts, hot chocolate for her, and coffee for dad. We were finally on our way to a local public pond that is loaded with bluegill and the occasional big largemouth bass. Now, while Delana is quite an accomplished fisherman, I still like to take her places that I'm almost certain we will get bites, because after all she is still just seven with a matching attention span.

The whole way there I was smiling while she told me from the back seat about the fish she planned to catch and how happy she was to be going with me. When we arrived at the pond, I almost had to hold her back from running out there. She grabbed her bucket and pole and of course ol dad would take care of the rest. We walked out on the pond and she quickly picked our spot. It made me proud that she remembered where we had caught them before.

I set everything up and Delana turned on her humminbird ice 35 and got to work. She quickly caught two bluegill as I watched with pride. I couldn't believe how quickly she was growing up and that she had taken in my instruction over the years and didn't need any help to start fishing. "Are you going to fish dad?" She said almost waking me out of a trance. "I've got you down two to none, you better hurry up or I'm gonna beat you today!"

Ahh, there's my competitiveness I thought. I started fishing and she made sure she stayed ahead of me. After an hour or so of fishing I had a bite and when I set the hook we both immediately knew it was a good largemouth bass. I silently laughed to myself as Delana told me, "be easy with him dad, it's a good one!" I fought the fish for a minute or two all the while taking the coaching from Delana. We managed to get it through the hole and Delana immediately wanted my phone for pictures. We took a "selfie" together, then she coached me on how to hold the fish and the best angle for a shot. Then Delana informed me that it was probably three pounds and we better let it go. She helped me slide the fish back in the hole and we both sat there a few seconds and watched it swim away.

We fished for a while longer,and decided to pack up. Delana's idea of that would be putting her pole in her bucket and flasher in the sled. Then headed for the truck. I was left to pick up the rest and kept getting told I was slow. She finally decided to wait for me. As we walked together back to the truck, I almost welled up as she told me she loved me and thanked me for teaching her to fish. She says she's glad I taught her, so one day she can teach her daughter. Pretty big talk for a seven year old!

As we got in the truck she reminded me she was hungry and the McDonalds was nearby. "And after that we better go get Mom a Valentine's day gift. Because after all she lets us go fishing." Such a smart girl, because after all she's right. Sometimes the simplest of trips like Delana and I had that day can be the most memorable. My only downfall is I didn't ask her sooner this past season. So my advice this week is get the kids and family outdoors whenever you can. I'm going to bet it will make some of your best outdoor memories years down the road. And it don't need to be a far away trip. We have a lot of great opportunities right here in the Cedar Valley. Until next time, Get Outdoors!

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