We took my son to a bass pond on the advice of many from this forum. His Gramps, the family meat-fisherman, supervised the technical aspects of worm preparation, and Joshua did the casting, hook-setting, reeling, landing, and releasing completely on his own. He caught a 7-inch bass on his first cast, and then another one on his second cast - he landed 5 small bass in all. After landing his first fish, Gramps took it off the hook, handed it to my son, and said, "Do you
want to throw it back in?" My son responded, "I want to eat it." It took a few minutes to convince him of the virtue of catch-and-release, and I'm not sure he completely bought it in the end (or perhaps he just knew that the pond could have stood having some fish taken out of it). But he threw the fish back in and kept fishing. After an hour, having caught more fish than everyone else combined, he really didn't want to leave. I guess that's the best possible outcome.
As a funny aside, later that evening he accompanied us to a trout stream to see his daddy and uncle flog the water without much success. After watching us for awhile, his Gramps asked him if he was having fun. My son said, "I hate fishing - I thought we were going to a lake." So he still doesn't quite appreciate the subtlety of trout fishing, especially when all he's doing is watching. He'll probably realize why we bother with trout around the same time he learns why a filet mignon is better than McDonalds. All in due time.
A hearty thanks to everyone on this board who's given me such good advice. We had a really fun time, and I'm sure we'll have many more. He wants to go back out today.
I posted a few pics here: http://www.troutnut.com/topic/824