Fishing, Part 2: an Adventure in Persistence

Tanglewood Park located in Clemmons NC became our second spot to try to catch “the big one.” Located near the Yadkin River, we approached the entry gate to find out the rules about fishing in the park. With the kids age…and my age…it cost 75 cents to buy a pass to fish the whole day at the two lakes in the park: Mallard and Skilpot. So off we went to start our adventure at the bigger of the two, Mallard Lake.

Pulling into the parking lot we grabbed our gear and went down to the waterline. Isaiah immediately spotted minnows swimming near the shore and showed his brother where they were. We sat the tackle box down, fixed the rods and baited the hooks. Then Isaiah grabbed the little minnow net I carry with me and ran back to where the minnows were swimming. His goal…catch some minnow bait.

Jeremiah began casting and within three casts, Pa was impressed. This 4 year old could easily cast his line out 25 feet! After doing it a few more times, he began reeling in the line making all the sounds he would make if he had a big fish on the end of the line. Practice makes perfect but persistence did not pay off with an actual fish dangling from his rod.

Isaiah had continued his attempts at minnow netting and snagged a few of them. He attempted to use them as bait but it had a mixed result. He would toss his line out, then immediately reel it in only to find the hook bare of minnow. He attributed the empty hooks to fish grabbing the minnows. Pa was not so sure but he may have been right.

The fish were not cooperating today. Hundreds of casts later we gave up our spot and moved down the shore to be closer to the boat pier. More casts and nothing (almost catch the boat dock). So we packed up our equipment got back into the car and headed toward Skilpot Lake.

On the way there we (Jeremiah’s request) stopped at the playground. Climbing, swinging, and running were the main activities but only in part of the playground as wasps and bumblebees made half of it a challenge to bee-adverse kids (and Pa who was not inclined to find out allergic responses).

After playing on the tire swing and getting a bit dizzy, off Isaiah ran to a large tree, which has partially fallen but was alive and growing near the ground. Careful placement of his feet and hands allowed him to climb from the ground to a section 6-feet above the ground. Underneath this branch was a smaller branch. With some trepidation on his part, he managed to shimmy over the larger branch to have his right foot just touch the lower branch. That’s all it took. Once he felt his foot on the branch, off came the other foot and soon he stood up and leapt for the ground only to climb another trees’ branches.

I spotted a hanging vine and informed the kids of its presence by swinging it (thank you to whoever cut the bottom of the vine to make it free-swinging!). Jeremiah, singing “George of the Jungle” theme song grabbed the vine and swung out…of course watching out for the tree (aka song lyric). Isaiah joined in and soon both boys were taking turns being George of the Jungle and Tarzan (Tarzan yell).

A quick visit to the restroom (Mallard Lake restroom was locked at this time of the year) and we were off again…much to Jeremiah’s displeasure. He wanted to stay and play some more but the sun and time were not with us to linger and play if we wanted to fish a little more. Perhaps our next trip will focus more on playground antics – in the early morning (side note: why are playgrounds built in middle of open areas where the sun turns both plastic and metal equipment into slow cookers? Have you ever ridden down a metal slide that has baked in the sun….ouch.).

Skilpot Lake has a nice pavilion that was being worked on. We elected to wander down to the shore and again begin the task of baiting hooks and casting lines in the hopes of catching the big one. Okay perhaps  with the hopes of catching anything at this point. Casting the bait here and there, near and far, it seemed like this was going to be another catch-free lake regardless of how persistent the boys (and I) were in trying to lure fish to our juicy bait.

Just before getting bored, Isaiah and Jeremiah cast their lines out about 25 feet from shore and “Voila!” Isaiah’s bobber dipped under water almost immediately! He started reeling in his line not really knowing what was happening then became excited when he realized there was a fish on the end of his line. He managed to land the fish, which turned out to be a six-inch large mouth bass. Pa stepped in and removed the hook from the fish…and of course forgot to take a close-up picture of the catch-of-the-day for posterity.

Jeremiah asked if he could throw the fish into the water and his brother said it was okay. Making sure his thumb kept the dorsal fins down, he held the fish in wonder and excitement. He was preparing to launch the fish into space (imagine baseball pitcher windup) when I convinced him that a light toss might be better for the fish. Of course the fish did not stay around to thank me for not being rocket launched but skedaddled for deep water.

Now Jeremiah really wanted to catch something. But as luck would have it nothing else grabbed either boys’ hooks. We did see a 12-inch bass swimming lazily by a sunken rod but no enticing on our part, including throwing the bait in top of it, could get it to bite. Oh well…sometimes patience and persistence do not pay off the way we expect it.

Jeremiah freed all of the remaining night crawlers by helping them learn how to swim (to the fish…you’re welcome), and we packed up and headed home with one catch under our belts. We persisted but the fish did a better job of avoiding our hooks today. But there’s always tomorrow and other lakes…

Fishing & playing at Tanglewood Park

Attraction Notes – Tanglewood Park:

With a low daily admission fee of $2 per car and a equally low fishing fee, Tanglewood Park provides a great place to spend the day. With picnic tables throughout the park, playgrounds, golf courses, a swimming and splash pool area, tennis courts, horseback riding, paved and dirt walking paths, bike riding paths, lakes, and wildlife strutting here and there, Tanglewood has much to offer for the  family. Wait until winter and you can enter the park and drive through the Christmas Lights display (the Clemmons Rotary Club sponsors a night where you can walk through the light display!).

There is also a RV site for visitors and a dog park for man’s (and woman’s) best friends. Special events occur throughout the year including concerts, soft golf, fireworks, and more. Stop by the office (first road turn left then the office building is on the right) to pick up trail maps and an annual pass for only $25. Make sure to grab sunscreen and bug repellent and then watch your step (the geese and ducks are…shall we say…productive?) but enjoy the day at Tanglewood.