On a slight whim, I bought my 6 year old daughter a "real" fishing rod for Christmas. This is not a typical age-appropriate Tweetie-Bird Zebco but a 5' long rod which looked a bit like one of dad's rods. She had asked for one in the past but I thought it was mainly because her older siblings each have a Tweetie-Bird type Zebco.
Based on the response this small gift catalyzed, you would have thought she had received $1,000,000 and a puppy that pooped candy! Never would I have thought a piece of cheap fiberglass and plastic could have produced such joy and happiness in a child. She carried it around the house for days like her most prized possession.
Weeks after Christmas, we planned a trip down to the coast. The absolute, very first thing she packed was her fishing rod. Again, it was prominently displayed and literally caressed and carried around carefully. I don't know exactly what it represents to her (time with dad, growing up and getting a real adult thing, or simply something her two siblings don't have) but it is OBVIOUSLY special. (The 'rod' is also now used as leverage to ensure proper behavior at school.)
The weather and tides did not cooperate and we caught no fish that morning (although we did see a small flounder caught which she described as "beautiful".)
The ONLY thing she did manage to catch was a slightly decomposing sock and as typical with this child, she asked the first question which came to her mind..."Do you think a shark ate the person?" to which I answered....."Yes, and probably the other sock too."