One Good Fish Is All It Takes
Watching kids (or anyone really) who is new to the sport of fishing catch fish is always a delight. But watching them fight something that rips line off the reel, that is how to turn them into fishermen or women! I remember when a buddy of mine who had not fished in decades wanted to get back into it. 2nd trip out with him, he caught four lake trout fishing from shore and to say he was hooked would be a massive understatement! And I have gotten a chance to see that look and hear that excitement with kids throughout the last several years as well. But when some friends and their kids were visiting us a few weeks ago, I got to witness it again with the oldest. The struggle with the fish and the excitement and elation of bringing it in and netting it for him. He couldn't' have been happier!
When our friends from the east side of the state decided to take a short vacation in the Hills in October, two of their boys, Johnny and Zachery, had requested some fishing time since we last tried to arrange it a couple of years ago. I had them meet me at the marina at Pactola where I had been having success with some trout here and there. It was a bit chilly and windy and boys were a little underdressed, but we gave it a shot. About 10 minutes into it, Johnny's bobber went down, and he set the hook into a very nice trout. It was a lot of fun watching him try to reel in the fish as the drag was going while his dad and myself were coaching him on how to keep the rod tip up and not jerk the rod around while steadily bringing the fish in towards my net when the fish wasn't running. Thanks to long extension on the Fortis net, I was able to get it into the net before it had a chance to get away struggling closer to shore. As I lifted the fish up, Johnny threw his arm up in victory! It was his biggest fish he had ever caught, a nice 17" rainbow. He was certainly all smiles, though he did not want to hold the fish this time. His brothers, Zachery and Theo, thought it was slimy when they touched it. And as if on cue, right after I released the fish, it started to rain. The boys lasted about 5 more minutes and decided they were done. While it was a quick trip for sure, it was a very eventful one for Johnny.
Since this trip, his parents have told me that he really wants to go fishing with me again and that even some ice fishing would be welcome! They may come visit us over the winter where I would love to take them out on the ice! The boys have been wanting to go fishing over for a while and now that Johnny has caught his biggest fish, he really wants to get back out there! And all it took was one nice fish to plant that seed to get him excited to fish again! It's just a joy to see that love develop and know that I was a part of it and for all I know, Johnny could become so proficient at fishing thanks to this great experience that he does this professionally or gets his own show! Who knows what lies in store for any of these boys in the world of fishing? But the joy is there, and I only hope that it will continue to be nurtured as he gets older. Again, sometimes all it takes is one good fish!