Something for the kids
Jay Clancy mentioned that it would be good to do something for the kids, to get them interested in flyfishing. I know for a fact that many of us have fond memories of our parents' role in our love for the sport, whether flyfishing or just a can o' worms. Perhaps we could plan something special for our future anglers.
I've given a few casting lessons to a friend's son and will be showing him a few fly patterns over the winter. Haven't gotten him out on the water but his Dad has, the kid is as dedicated to flyfishing as any of us are at his current age of 12.
My own son is more interested in other distractions at this point in his life but I can tell the fire isn't out. We had some good times on the water, although he won't admit it for fear of his sisters' ribbing. Last summer we did get out and chase stripers on the flats, and the summer before his cousin joined us for some great times. This year we are planning a big surf fishing trip with all the fixin's, five teenagers and I down the cape for the weekend.
Last year, grandpa asked me to get a picture of my niece with a fish. I took her to Scargo Pond with her new snoopy rod, a bobber and a worm. A husky smallmouth took the bait and the fight was on. She did great until the red-eyed fish came close to her feet. One look at those red eyes and she threw the rod in the water yelling "it's mad at me!" and ran up the hill. I dove in to fetch the rod her dad just bought her, and asked her to come back down to the water. As I dried, I picked up the camera and said "hold it for the picture, dear". She shook her head. I said "let's get a picture for Pappa, you can either hold the fish or the rod". She took the rod, funniest picture I'd seen in a long time. They all had a laugh on me as we came back to the cottage with the "guide" soaking wet.
I took my own daughter trolling streamers on White's Pond when she was really young. She seemed to be really happy holding an old Fenwick fiberglass flyrod I got at Spags as I paddled around. I heard a sploosh and looked her way, there she sat with her hands folded. I said "where's the fishing rod?"!! She said, "Oh, I was done Daddy", and had dropped it into the 40 foot depths.
When my son was very young I took him and cousins to a pond with a 6wt and a rubberlegged popper. We were happy catching bluegill and pumkinseed when a cormorant came over to him and ate the bluegill on his line. Scared the begeezus out of him, but then he got mad at it and started to yell and chase the bird who had his line down it's throat. The morning strollers happened to be birdwatchers and got all upset as I ran as fast as I could over to diagnose the problem. I swiftly cut the tippet and the bird flew free. One guy argued that I had probably harmed the bird, I explained how a tiny barbless NON-stainless hook in a popper hidden in a bluegill in the gizzard of a cormorant could do hardly any harm compared to attempts to extract by force. Even attempts to extract the bluegill sans hook would do severe damage. The bird went over to a dock and started to preen itself. To this day, his cousins (who were there) talk about that day.
One day I was steelheading at a small Columbia River trib in WA. A father and daughter were there too. I got lucky and hooked an 8-9 pounder behind a rock that he had not been focusing on, and he got a little pissed. I sat down to rest the pool and watched the man fish. I noticed he got real pissy at his girl, barking orders and making her feel unwelcome. I could just feel it. Suddenly, he hooked a tremendous steelhead, and it was kicking his butt up one side and down the other. He started yelling for his daughter to get a photo as the young girl tripped along with the viewfinder to her face trying to please Daddy. She was unable to get a shot as they chased the fish right past me, and the man stepped onto a clay bank, still yelling for the girl to get a snapshot. The fish made a series of searing runs and the man lost his balance. I looked over and saw his red hat floating, his arm out of the water, and the 17 pound steelhead made a magnificent 6 foot leap from the water and threw the hook. Before gravity could pull it back into the water, I heard "click"... and realized that the girl got a shot of dad's floating hat, arm with rod raised high, and the fish suspended in a stoic leap - with her dad underwater. I'll even bet the line was curled up like a silly string as it flew from the fish. Just the thought of owning that photo sent chills down my spine. The man stumbled onto the bank, cursing profanities, and hustling his daughter back to the trail.
I thought I saw a little mirthful grin on the girls face as she hurried to keep up with her gruffy father. It was a magic moment!