WINONA, Mo. -- Naturalists at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Twin Pines Conservation Education Center might know something about the taste of fish bait. While this isn’t required knowledge when fishing, it doesn’t deter from their ability to help others get a taste for fishing. Twin Pines will host a free Family Fishing Day, Saturday, May 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and you can learn from someone else’s fishing mistake.
MDC Naturalist Erin Tuttle shared her first experience fishing with her grandfather.
“I was six years old and I was finally old enough to go fishing with grandpa,” she said. “He had a big shiny blue boat that he zoomed up and down the river.”
Every grandchild in their family had their first fishing experience with grandpa and now it was Erin’s turn. She recalls the wind blowing her hair around her face as the boat was rushed to her grandpa’s favorite catfishing spot. He baited the poles and explained that catfish live on the bottom of the river and “smell” for their food. He handed her the pole and she examined the bait.
“It looked like peanut butter and it smelled like peanut butter,” Tuttle said. “So, I asked my grandpa if it was peanut butter. He handed me the jar and said ‘Why don’t you find out’. ”
Tuttle dipped her finger in and took a lick.
“It definitely was not peanut butter,” Tuttle said. “My grandpa laughed and laughed as I tried to get the taste off my tongue.”
Tuttle said at first she was upset with her grandfather.
“I remember his cheeks flushed and his eyes sparkled from his little trick,” she said. “He laid a hand on my shoulder and told me all my other cousins went through the same thing when they were finally old enough and he laughed at them, too. I guess I made it through his right of passage so we spent the rest of the day catching our limit and swimming around the boat.”
On Family Fishing Day at Twin Pines May 6, Tuttle will work with young, new anglers on fishing, including different types of bait, and remember her own first fishing experience.
“I can still taste the bait from that day, which is now a cherished memory with my grandfather,” she said. “I’m looking forward to helping to bait hooks and showing guests how to cast at Family Fishing Day, and I promise not to trick anyone into tasting the bait. We’ll let the fish have it.”
No registration is required for Family Fishing Day at Twin Pines. For more information on this and other nature programs, go online to mdc.mo.gov/TwinPines or call (573)325-1381.