Where catching the first fish can lead

Catching the first fish can contribute to life choices in many ways or, put another way, the maudlin moments that come with graduation month.

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Addesta McCluskey, 4, with her first fish, an invasive round goby, from River Park.

Addesta McCluskey, 4, with her first fish, an invasive round goby, from River Park.

Provided

Matt McCluskey emailed a human reminder on May 4 after his 4-year-old daughter Addesta caught her first fish at River Park on her first fishing excursion.

”Ratfinkee and a red worm got the job done on this round goby,” he emailed. “Not a FOTW candidate by any means and hoping for a native fish down the line but my excitement and maybe pride in her catching something and the joy that followed was too big not to report.”

Maybe not a Fish of the Week, but it illustrates what the invasive gobies are to modern fishing around Chicago. Round gobies, native to the Black and Caspian seas in Europe, arrived in the Chicago area in the mid-1990s. They are the first fish of probably hundreds, maybe thousands, of area kids over the last couple decades.

Two days later, McCluskey emailed a photo of Addesta with her first native fish, a bluegill caught from Wildwood in Park Ridge. The next week, Rob Abouchar, a regular contributor to the Midwest Fishing Report, messaged about Addesta, his great niece, catching her first catfish.

Addesta McCluskey, 4, with her first native fish, a bluegill from Wildwood in Park Ridge. Provided photo

Addesta McCluskey, 4, with her first native fish, a bluegill from Wildwood in Park Ridge.

Provided

Those are points in the progression of love of the outdoors.

This saga touched me, please give me a moment.

This month, we had our daughter graduate from the University of Illinois and our youngest son from high school. Anyone who has had a kid in their first year of high school or college in March of 2020 know what the last three years have been like. We had one of each. Feeling maudlin comes easily.

Our daughter caught her first fish, a yellow perch at Navy Pier, when she was four. It remains my favorite photo of her. It’s not an accident that nearly 18 years later her degree came in Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability.

Life progresses like that.

Cleaning station

Ben Alden, operations manager for the Chicago harbors, emailed “that the fish cleaning station at Burnham Harbor is operational and cleared for use. Staff will unlock it upon request.”

Wild things

A pair of low-flying nighthawks surprised me Sunday evening while rambling with Lady. I usually associate them with late-season night baseball.

Stray cast

Credit where credit is due: On May 3, I advised the Cubs that it was prime Morel season.

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