You can catch more frogs with marshmallows than with nets…
In about 1997, just after transferring to CFB Trenton, Ontario, we went to visit family in Havelock and stayed in a cabin (translation: shack) on our family waterfront (translation: swamp) property.
The kids adored the place and we all spent a lot of time fishing, boating, exploring and enjoying evening campfires.
One morning Mark was up very early and decided to go fishing on his own. In my groggy condition, I did notice him leaving and wished him good luck.
About an hour later, Erin and Stuart awoke, I gave them breakfast, then they looked at me and asked to go fishing. I said, “yes”, but upon digging out their fishing rods, I realized that Mark had taken his fishing tackle box and the lines on their rods were bare of hooks, lures, or any other sparkly bit fish might find eye catching. I could see by the looks on their faces how disappointed they were, so I started frantically trying to think of something else they could do when my eyes lit on a bag of marshmallows left from the campfire from the previous evening.
Since the kids were so little at the time (Erin 4 and Stuart near 3) I figured they’d never know the difference and said, “We can use bits of marshmallow for bait.”
Anybody seeing us from the road wouldn’t have noticed anything out of the ordinary – me and my two little ones heading for the dock with rods in hand. Since there were no hooks, I broke the marshmallow into four pieces and tied each bit to the line of a fishing rod and handed them over to the kids to cast – which they did with enthusiasm.
While watching them, I was a little concerned about how long this would work and when they would catch on. Some time had passed and they still hadn’t caught anything when Erin suddenly shouted, “Mommy, I got one!” I immediately looked over and could see the rod bending over with the weight of whatever was on the business end. I took hold of her hands on the rod and helped her reel it in, watching for it to break the surface of the water to see what she’d snagged. To my surprise it wasn’t the sleek, shiny scaly body of a fish that broke through, but the nobby, bulgy eyes of a bullfrog!
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! The frog had somehow noticed the marshmallow and grabbed for it, swallowing it on the end of the line. I grabbed the rod even more firmly just as Erin yelled, “Mommy, it’s a frog!” and we swung the line, frog and everything back over our shoulders onto the grass, where it suddenly broke free and promptly hopped back into the water.
Stuart soon caught one as well and we had a lively, laughter-filled, loud morning baiting our lines over and over with bits of marshmallows, catching, landing and re-catching bullfrogs. Our fun only ended when Mark returned to the dock and heard in disbelief what we’d been doing. How he managed to decipher any part of the story through the din of both kids eagerly trying to relay it to him at the same time, I don’t know. All he needed to know was the lesson of the day:
You can catch more frogs with marshmallow than with nets.