I've 'officially' welcomed Spring, that having to do with the
arrival of our first Hummingbird. The fact we got 4 inches
of snow within a few hours of that doesn't count. It's gone.
Like my dad used to say, "The sun's too far over the yardarm
to have the snow last." One of our readers was concerned we
might have a 'hummersickle', but the hummer is fine, he makes
several stops at our feeder a day. We named him Fred; we always
name the first one of the year Fred.
My Spring memories include something very special to me. I wasn't
very old, first grade I think, and once the sun warmed the shallows
of Lake Michigan the perch were hanging around the big break-wall
at Ludington, Michigan. The break-wall protected the harbor where
the car ferries docked. Best of all it was a glorious place for
a kid with a straw hat (isn't it funny the things we remember?)
sitting on the break-wall between my parents fishing with a bait
casting rod. Minnows were the bait, kept in a minnow bucket of course.
That is my first memory of fishing. As the years went by I fished
the summers with my grandfather around the Rogers City, Michigan
area. Eventually at age 11 gramps taught me how to fly fish.
But at that time I did not own a fly rod, and when I fished with
my folks on Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron) it was with a spinning rod.
Zebco as I recall. The only time I can remember fly fishing with
my dad, who was a fly fisher, was back on Lake Michigan. He wasn't
fly fishing on this trip. I was the only person on his boat who
was. It was doing something in a different way for sure. We were
fishing out of Frankfort, Michigan for the first returning Coho salmon
which had been planted a couple of years earlier.
The wisdom of the experts was that salmon (any salmon other than
Atlantics) would not take a fly or a lure and the only way they
could be 'caught' was by snagging. Regardless, there were plenty of folks
willing to troll the depths with whatever to try and catch them.
I had read about fishing for Atlantics and wanted to try using a
fly. Dad humored me; we ran the fly line through a down-rigger
set-up and while the rest of the folks on the boat threw Lure
Jensen lures or trolled them on down riggers, I stuck with my
blue and white polar bear streamer. I caught several very nice
Coho that day. The only salmon taken on the boat.
I've also fished for catfish, bluegills, bass, sturgeon, walleye,
marlin, tarpon, dorado, jack cravelle, bonefish, trout and salmon
of course too. A wonderful lifetime of fishing. It hasn't all been fly fishing,
and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
My daughters all have been at least exposed to fishing and fly fishing.
Where they go with it is up to them, but they know it exists.
How about your kids? How about the grandchildren?
There has been a lot of improvements on what is available for kids
to fish. The idea of 'Snoopy rods' was/is great. South Bend has
some very neat outfits just for kids. Spin and Spincast combos,
some one-piece, some two-piece easy for kids to use. One called
Character Combos has the spincast rod, reel, a dial drag so kids
can learn how to fight fish. Each outfit includes a practice
casting plug and a fold-out lawn target with easy-to-understand
instructions. Some of their combo's even have a tackle box with
tackle. And the best part, these kits include tips and instructions
for moms and dads who also might be first time anglers!
Hurrah for South Bend! They are not sponsors here - but I personally
think it is so important to get the kids out fishing, I'm willing
to put in a plug for them here. Just get the kids (and it wouldn't
hurt to get the parents out too) fishing. It doesn't have to be
fly fishing, and frankly when a kid starts pestering you to learn
to fly fish they may not have the coordination or attention span
to learn yet. Just get them fishing!
What will their memories be? Computer games? Rap music? Any
appreciation for the outdoor world at all? And what will they value?
Our world has changed a lot since I started fishing. But I can
recall every fishing experience I ever had, with love and joy.
Fishing is the ground of my being.
Got kids? GO FISH! ~ LadyFisher
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