My first fish was a bluegill or pumpkin seed and I recall while small it had the most beautiful coloration almost like an aquarium fish. I remember I was around 5 because my brother wasn't born yet and we went as a family to a house on a private lake. Cane pole, bobber, worm, someone to put worm on hook, someone to take fish off hook and put another worm on and I was loving it! My father was happy to impale as many worms as I wanted and remove as many slimy, icky, strangely beautiful fish from my hook just to see the joy and pride in my face. "Look Dad! I caught a fish!"
Once I got a little older Dad and I would get up before the sun came up and load fishing gear in the big 1970's family cargo length van (never know when you'd need to transport 10 people...Dad always was prepared) and drive to White Hen and get two sandwiches from the deli, a bag of potato chips, and a 2-liter of soda for each of us. A couple bags of ice for the cooler and we were on our way to Plainfield to fish one of the public pay for entry strip-mine pits there. Shakespeare rod, spincast reel, big red and white bobber, and a worm. Cast and sit. Sometimes catch. Sometimes just sit. I enjoyed the time with dad but hardly ever caught anything.
I fished on and off until I was in my early teens and decided that I was too cool for drowning a worm and sitting still. My father still went out but mainly to the pond by the Naperville Police station and mainly to fall asleep in a folding chair with a rod in a rod holder, bell on tip, and big red and white bobber.
Flash forward to 2011. For some reason I got a bug up my butt to start fishing again. I haven't thought about fishing since I was a kid. Dad died in 2000; I wonder if my brother tossed out his gear. Thankfully he hadn't.
I started searching the internet for forums to teach me how to fish in any way that didn't involve a big red and white bobber. I signed on to other fishing forums in the Chicagoland area but none had the type of people or fostered the nurturing attitude that DuPage Angler did.
I quickly learned and upgraded my equipment, developed a healthy addiction to standing in rivers, met some great people and developed friendships and the rest is yet to come. I look forward to experiencing my first spring fishing now that I have a better idea what I'm doing and my second summer fishing since I was a kid.
You know what? This summer I think I'll break out one of those bobbers and drown a worm for nostalgia's sake.