September 18th, 2000

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Take A Kid Fishing? What Are You Nuts?

By Allen Crise, Glen Rose, TX USA

I am a great-grand-father so when I got the chance to take my grandson Lane, fishing I could hardly wait. The weekend was half over before I could get the RV loaded and ready, even with Lane's help. Being almost 4 years old he did a lot of running to keep up with the ol' man and Nola, my wife. Lane, Nola and I were off to Possum Kingdom for a couple of days of fishing. I know, that many of you know that the trout are stocked below the dam and you think this old fly fisherman was going just to fly fish for trout, well I might fool you. I do know how to cast a spinning rod, and even bait a hook with a worm or power-bait.

It was late afternoon when we arrived at the hwy. 16 bridge. Lane with his "Snoopy Rod" could hardly wait to get to the water. What with putting on life jackets, tennis shoes, and a hat, it was all taking just too long. Great-grand-mothers are like that you know.

" Now you watch him close and don't let him get wet or fall . . ."

Tackle box in one hand and a small hand in the other I started down the hill that leads to the river. The water was flowing very slowly making it low and the weekend fishermen had been beating the surface. The trout were not really ready to come up to feed, but we were fishing. You see the week before Lane had a dream that we had taken the motor home fishin', so to make a small boys dream come true here we are.

Lane had been practicing casting for the last year. Every time he would see me out doing the 'pasture casting' with my fly rod that is suppose to make me a better fly caster, he would join me. Well this was a little different. There was a bobber, a weight and a hook with some Power bait on it to cast out far enough to get to the fast water, about 25 feet. I could cast it that far, but to a kid it was a challenge that he could do just as well as I could. Four-year olds are like that. Just give him some time and he could get it out every once in awhile. So he was fishing . . .

He was doing well and the others had left. I thought he might even get lucky and get a trout, but that was not to be. Darkness fell and we had to find a place to stay the night. I parked the RV in a BRA campground out on the point on Possum Kingdom lake. Here we could fish the next morning for perch, bluegill, and small anything. After a very slow breakfast, Lane and I went down to the fishing pier. The pier ramp lead down at a very steep angle to a platform that canted toward the water that was only about a foot deep. The early March wind coming from the north brought the cold and drove it into the bone, but if Lane could just sit in my lap he would be OK.

The bobber now floated about two foot above the worm, that we had bought at the lakeside "Tradin' Post", and floated and floated. Casting over the rail was a little hard, but if he could back up a little he could get it over. The angle of deck was an advantage, the Snoopy rod was not. When I asked if he would like to go back to the RV, or just take a walk along the shore, he was willing to walk the shore. May even find a treasure . . . pirates, deep-sea monsters, and any number of things could be running through the mind of a small boy. We would stop to cast then walk a little further, cast again. The walking did help the cold body. With the wind blocked by the shore boulders we could find some sun without cutting knife of the north wind.

The treasures of a beach comber are shells, rocks, and many small wonders which can be seen only thru the eyes of a kid. The ducks and birds of water were all just like a dream and I could envy the marvel of it all.

The next stop was a tackle shop "Mountain 1" for some local area fishing 'where tos'. We drove to the area that was to be a good spot for fish and a small boy. Shallow, (no life jacket). The wind had stopped and the sun had warmed the air to 70 degrees so no heavy jacket. Just casting as far as he could with the bobber, weight, and bait set about two foot down.

This is where the mind should have been working over time on safety. Hooks on a long line from a bobber with a sinker acting like a bolo and sure enough the scream that came from my little fishing partner was like a saber to the heart. "DON'T MOVE," I instructed as I saw the bait and hook hanging just below his left eye. Covering the fifteen feet in two strides, I carefully removed the line from around his head shoulders. Relieved I saw that the hook had not caught in his eye or gone in past the barb. I gave the hook swift pull to remove it from his cheek. A single drop of blood stood out on his face. Where was my brain, no sunglasses, still in the RV. Barb not bent down on hook, I really wanted him to catch a fish. This was March, who would think of a sunscreen? The red neck and nose sure told the story.

After a little TLC from Nola, Lane was ready for more fishing, I was ready for lunch. You would think that Lane's Band-Aid was a battle ribbon. He wanted everyone at the restaurant to see his boo-boo. The Hatchery was on the way so at least we could see a fish, even a trout. Lane got to see and feed some great fish headed to the stocking point. We returned to the river for afternoon hatch and you guessed it I broke out the fly rod and set up Lane's Snoopy rod for trout with a much shorter bobber to hook set-up and a slip bobber to make it a lot safer, with the barb bent down on the hook, he also had on a life jacket and sunglasses. I was not about to have any thing else happen.

The trout came to the surface and started feeding. The call of the risers overtook me and I was casting to them with my little 7 1/2 ft 4 wt. It was a small trout rod just Lanes size OK so it was my GLoomis trout rod. The trout was soon fooled and I called Lane to come over and reel in the trout. The fishless "snoopy" pole was laid on ground. Soon Lane was fighting his first trout. A proud moment in a great-grand-fathers life. The trout headed upstream with a rush the soft graphite rod took the arch of the fighting tool it was made to be. With a flash the trout broke the surface and landed . . . on the line running to shore and the small blue "snoppy" rod left unattended on the shore. This seem to be the day the river gods get their revenge on this ol' man for all the trout that I have bothered. Oh for it to be otherwise. The trout came free of the barbless hook and made a hasty retreat to other places.

This did not bother Lane half as much as it did me, he just grabbed up his blue pole and started casting again. Lane thought the other side of the river would be better if I could just carry him across. No problem just take off the fly fishing vest to keep him free of flies on the drying patch, and remember the flies on the hat, also. The catching was no better but to Lane the fishing was great, not wanting to quit till the sun had been lost behind the western ridge. No it was not a good day of fishing. It was a great day with my great-grand-son and new fishing partner.

He is becoming a good rollcaster with the 7 1/2 footer. Now he wants his own fly rod and a better spinning rod & reel too.

This might be a good place to restate my feelings on kids fishing. When a kid is fishing he is not thinking about drugs, alcohol or any other kind of trouble - he is fishing. What better way is there to spend some time?

Good fishing to you all! ~ Allen Crise

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