Teaching Grandkids How to Fish
One of the great joys of fishing is to teach our kids and grandkids how to fish. The excitement in their eyes as they pull in that first fish is priceless. I believe in the saying fishing is not a hobby it is a way of life. Many lessons in life can be taught by associating them with fishing and fishing techniques. For example: I had a child with ADD. When he would enter a room it was like a tornado going through. Eating at the table was like trying to tame a wild horse. He just could not sit still for very long. Somehow, we got him through school with only a few special visits to the principal’s office. However, when I took him fishing, he could sit for long stretches watching his line and reeling them in. He became, by far, my most avid fisherman..
I also enjoyed teaching my grandchildren to fish. I had two of them at our summer cabin for the weekend at Flaming Gorge. It was a beautiful summer morning that I had promised to take them out on the boat to go fishing. They didn’t get up as early as I had hoped and I knew we had missed trolling for the kokanee when they are biting best. Instead, I decided to take them to a cove where we usually have a lot of luck fishing for rainbows at any time of day whether trolling or jigging. The lake was calm and the majority of the avid fishermen were coming in to dock having caught their fish for the day.
As we headed across the lake, we passed a few boaters and skiers starting their day. That reinforced my decision to fish the bay as they did not go there for recreation boating. It is hard to fish with a lot of waves bouncing you around all of the time. We passed a few trout jumping out of the water for insects so I knew they were feeding that day. We went to the upper reaches of the bay so we could troll from there to the main part of the lake without being bothered. There was only one other boat in the area and they were casting to shore for bass.
We stopped the boat while we got the downriggers set up and the poles out. I usually have the poles rigged ready to go before going out, but, since this was their first time fishing, I wanted to show and teach them all about what it takes to be successful. I let each of them choose which lure they wanted to use. This was no easy task for then as I had a couple hundred lures to choose from. I did guide them in as much as I needed to so that we all had the same type lure or a lure that would be appropriate for the speed we were to be going. I explained to them the different types of lures and the type of fish they were used for. I also explained that I have several sizes and shapes of dodgers, flashers, and, pop gear and what each accomplished.
We decided to use a 4” dodger and a needle fish, Tasmanian devil or jakes lure. I taught them how to attach the line to the lure and swivel according to the attached figure. I told them a poorly knotted line would often result in a lost fish and lure. I still tested their knots to make sure. We were now ready to fish!
The trolling motor was started and put in gear and they let out about thirty feet of line, hooked it onto the snap at the ball and lowered it down ten to fifteen feet. We were now fishing/trolling toward the shoreline where the trout are most plentiful.
We had gone no more than fifty feet when the pole of my five year old jerked hard and the line took off. I knew we had a decent sizes fish to be able to take it off the downrigger. Usually we have to jerk the pole upward to break it loose. I told him to grab the pole and take it out of the holder which he did. Just at that time the fish decided to make a run for it. The pull on the pole scared my grandson and he tried to get me to take it from him. I told him, “No, this is your fish”. Keep the pole up and reel in slowly and I would help him net it.
I stayed close so I could grab the pole in case he let go of it. He was a real trooper and stayed with it even while my wife helped his older brother catch a smaller fish on the other side of the boat. He got the fish up close to the boat three times, but as soon as it saw the net, it took off again. I had purposely set the drag a little loose so the line went whizzing out of the reel. He stayed with it with a lot of encouragement and instruction. He had also gotten come competitive spirit and was determined to win. And win he did!! After about ten minutes of struggle, the fish was finally in the boat. He reached down to touch the fish and it flopped about that same time. I couldn’t get him to touch it after that.
Not bad for a five year old’s first fish, a nice four pound beauty. As you can see in the attached picture, he was not even going to hold the fish after it was dead.
He became my best fishing buddy after that. I got quite a few calls, “grandpa can you take me fishing today?” How can you turn down a request like that? I usually took him somewhere close to spend a couple hours together. His brother and sister often went with us.
We caught six fish in the bay; all were good pan sized fish. We then decided we would go fishing for kokanee, trolling along the cliffs. It was quite slow fishing even though we changed lures and trolling speeds. My seven year old grandson finally caught a nice two pound koke at the end of the cliffs entering into another bay. It gave him a good fight. We were fishing at a depth of sixty feet when it took the line off the ball and rose to the surface making a graceful leap into the air. He barely got the pole out of the holder while this was happening. It made a few runs and a couple more leaps before we got it in the boat. As far as he was concerned, it was a whale of a fish. His excitement made the trip worthwhile. We caught a couple small kokanee before heading back to the dock
They were not as excited to learn how to clean the fish. Catching them was a lot more fun. I ended up doing most of the dirty work.
We had taken a break for lunch earlier at the insistence of my wife. It gave us a little time to explore the shoreline and get some energy out of their systems. The food was consumed quickly so we could get back to fishing. Trolling was a great way to teach them all about fishing as it did not require constantly holding the pole or watching a bobber all day. My boat is big enough that they could move around and even take a dip off the back swim platform when the fishing was slow. But best of all was being together and enjoying one another’s company. These are the things we will always treasure. This kind of sums it up.
All I need to know about life I learned from fishing:
There is no such thing as too much equipment. When in doubt, exaggerate. If it feels good, it’s fishing. Everyone has a story about the one that got away. It’s good to be at the top of the food chain. Even the best lines get weak after they’ve been a few times. Sometimes you really have to squirm to get off the hook. Cast everything in the best light possible. Keep one eye on your line at all times. Get reel. Life is a stream of conscience things. I fish, therefore I am. Take time to smell the fishes. The way to a fisherman’s heart is through his fly. A fishing line has a hook at one end and an optimist at the other end. Fish always start to grow after they get away. Life is a can of worms. The fishing is always better trolling along the opposite side of the lake. Good things come to those who wade. When the going gets tough, the tough go fishing. Even a fish wouldn’t get caught if it kept its mouth shut.
Keep your pole up and the line taut.
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