An afternoon at the lake with the Woodsboy

Now that spring is really springing here in eastern Finland, I’ve been itching to get outdoors to enjoy the nice weather and do some gear testing. So on Sunday afternoon, with the Woodsboy in tow, I drove out to my mother-in-laws cabin at the lake.

I first started looking for more spring wild edibles. The best time to eat birch leaves are when they are young and small like this. They’re tender and fresh.

I brought out my newly refurbished Marttiini leuku to take it for a test spin (glamor-shot alert!).

It sailed right through some small willow shoots (sorry for the blurry pic).

Easily chopped through some wet-ish, but still very solid, dead birch.

The Woodsboy asked if we could do some fishing, so I put the knife away and headed over to the lake shore. On the way, I snapped this picture of some young rowan leaves.

And some bilberry flowers.

In one of my earlier posts from last autumn, I showed the telescoping fishing pole and two pre-packaged hook, line, sinker and bobber rigs I had purchased.

In Finland, it’s possible to fish with equipment like this without a license and just about anywhere you want (there are a few restrictions). Fishing with a rod and reel using lures is a different story. Anyway, up until this past weekend, I hadn’t done much with my new fishing gear. I noticed that the pre-packaged line rigs I bought were kind of low in quality, but you get what you pay for. So earlier in the week I decided to make my own line rigs using better-quality materials which I had in my tackle box, as well as a small package of spare items.

The rigs I made have a snap swivel on one end, which attaches to the ring at the end of the pole. Attached to this, I have a length of 10 lb test mono-filament fishing line. At the other end is a small-to-medium-sized hook, small split-shot lead sinker and a small bobber. I made two of these rigs and wrapped them around small pieces of cardboard. In a small plastic bag, I put extra hooks, sinkers, line and a bobber. I had a spare stringer in my tackle box, so I decided to include it as well. Both line rigs, the spare materials and the stringer fit into this small canvas pouch, which originally held a German army sewing kit.

Here’s the complete set.

The telescoping rod fits nicely into a cloth rod pouch I got years ago with a telescoping spinning rod. The tackle pouch attaches to the rod pouch nicely. Here’s the Woodsboy presenting Daddy’s new rod-and-line fishing outfit.

After attaching one of the line rigs, it was time to look for bait. We found some small slugs under a large, flat stone and threaded one on the hook.

Now all that’s left to do was to cast it in the water.

Almost right away, we got some nibbles, and within a minute or two we caught this roach (the roach is a small freshwater and brackish water fish in the carp family which usually doesn’t exceed 35 cm/14 inches in length, however a majority of roach caught are about the size shown here, plus or minus).

Here it is next to the leuku, which has a 16 cm/6.3″ blade.

The Woodsboy was very excited about this “really big fishy” that Daddy caught. 😉 As soon as I released the fish, it started to rain, so we headed for cover. The Woodsboy wanted to nibble on something, so I cut up a tomato for him.

While it was raining, a gull was taking a bath, so I snapped this shot.

Luckily, it only rained for 10 or 15 minutes, so we didn’t have to wait long. Once the skies cleared, we headed to the fire pit to grill up a sausage and rolls for dinner. I used the Marttiini leuku to prepare wood for the fire.

We roasted up a big, fat “HK Sininen” sausage, a fine delicacy in Finland. 😉 I also threw on a few buns we had left from making grilled chicken sandwiches during the week.

A very basic, but filling meal.

If you’re wondering why we grilled a sausage instead of eating fresh fish, you’ve never had a 3-year-old. 😉 Plus, it was getting on in the evening and almost time for us to head home. We did want to get in just a little more fishing before we left, though, so I threw the line out again and…

I was really happy to see this rig work well and I’m looking forward to using it again. I mentioned in a previous post that it would be “replacing” my ultralight spinning outfit, but of course that mainly pertains to hook-and-bobber fishing. I’ll still be using spinning outfits for fish like pike, perch etc.

The refurbished leuku also served me well that day. I noticed a tiny bit of play in the bolster that evening and I imagine it loosened up a bit when I split wood with the knife (well, I did want to put the knife through its paces). I managed to feed some epoxy into the small gap under the bolster, so we’ll see how that holds up. I then decided to put a thin coat of teak oil on the handle to add extra protection against water etc. Then I got a little crazy with the teak oil and coated the inside and outside of the sheath with it as well. This was very experimental, and I have no idea how it will turn out! I know there are other ways to protect and harden a sheath, but my curiosity won out over convention this time. After applying the oil, I put both the knife and sheath in the sun to dry.

Both I and the Woodsboy had a lot of fun, and I find it’s getting easier to do this kind of stuff with him now that he’s a little bit older. It made me think about the future and all the trips I’d like to take him on and the things I’d like to teach him. For now, at least, it looks like I’ve got an avid little fisherman and outdoorsman on my hands. I have to mention that, at one point during our fishing experience, he looked at me about once a minute and said, “I like fishing with you, Daddy.” It made my day. 🙂


4 comments on “An afternoon at the lake with the Woodsboy

  1. Ron says:

    So….. you’ve been playing outside, too ‘ey? Looks like you spent a highqualitytime-day with your boy, there! He’ll remember that for the rest of his days…
    The business of fishing….. something tells me I should get into that someday too, but somehow it doesn’t strike a chord with me.
    I’d rather experience the thrill of the hunt!
    Good to see the knife perform. Now you know that you could use if you wanted too, after the work you put into it.

    Saucage looks tasty, btw, but if the buns are anything like the ones you get here….. I’d just take the saucage. Thank you.

    • Definitely high-quality time!

      I’ve been fishing on and off since I was a boy, so it’s something I really enjoy. Having my son there with me brings it to a whole new level.

      Well, I did check the stability/strength of the knife a bit before doing the work, because I wasn’t going to do all that work if there was a chance the wood was rotten inside or something. I just didn’t test it in the field at all, until Sunday. It does look like it will stand up to hard use, so I’m happy. 🙂

      Well, I would have preferred some better rolls, but I couldn’t find any at that particular store. After being toasted, the hamburger buns actually tasted OK. 🙂

  2. americangrouch says:

    Very inspirational post brother. My boys and girls have been itchy to hit the banks of our streams and the waters of our lakes for a while now. We’ll be doing so this weekend. Great post! Keep it up!

    • Thanks, AG! Glad to hear you’ll be getting out there soon as well. 🙂 I didn’t do much fishing last year or in ’10 (was concentrating more on other stuff), but I think it’s time to get back to the water again!

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