October 9th, 2006

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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I'm Bored. What Do We Do Now?
By Mike Baker (roadking)

I can't tell you how many times I've heard that this year. My nephew came to visit this summer. Twelve years old and never stops moving. If you don't keep him busy he entertains himself, which usually means fixing something. Well, actually, taking something apart and spreading parts everywhere, never to be brought together again. So as you can imagine, the pressure was on to avoid those dreadful words, "I'm Bored!"

I'm kinda getting ahead of myself here. My brother-in-law's family lives in southern California and we live in northern Cal. We've been pretty pre-occupied with grandchildren for the last six or so years. Consequently, we haven't spent time with the family for a while. That changed a few months ago when we got a call that our sister-in-law had passed away in her sleep. Tom was away for the weekend for a soccer referee seminar and nephew Thomas had found his Mom. The family was in total disarray so we rushed down to help in any way we could. By the time we left, plans had been made for the four kids to come for a visit. Thought it would be a good idea for them to get away and give Tom a little time to himself.

Sounded good for everyone but me. I was laid off earlier and had decided to spend some time landscaping the back yard. Our giant 150 year old oak tree had fallen and the yard was destroyed. Sounds pretty good till four teenage kids show up on your doorstep. That's when the fun began. The girls fended for themselves most of the time and Thomas became my shadow.

We had a great time mountain biking, kayaking, building things, landscaping and finally----fishing. Tom had never been and was instantly hooked. I had a great time experiencing a sport through his eyes that I had been involved in since I could crawl. We fished ponds, creeks, rivers and probably a few puddles. He was using my little ultra-light spinning outfit and I my fly rod. Most days I out-fished him badly, but a couple of days he could do no wrong.

I've fished a few blue ribbon waters and had some stellar days that our local fly shop owner calls 'events.' Days when fish are jumping in your float tube and hitting both flies on your rig. I don't think I've ever had a better time than I did with Tom, chasing little smallies and blue gills in a small crick just outside the city limits. When it was time for him to go I bought him a spinning rod and some tackle and showed him how to find fishing spots close to home.

He kept that rod with him for a whole week, you would have thought it was gold. He called me when he got home to tell me he had found places to fish he didn't know even existed. I do believe I have created a monster.

We just returned from another visit and I was impressed with his resourcefulness at finding fishing spots around Chino, Cal. I was even more impressed when he pressed me to teach him to fly fish. We spent three evenings practicing casting till dark. I've never seen him do one thing for that long in one sitting. On the fourth evening we fished. Sorry to say I outfished him again, but he never lost the Panny Popper I gave him, (I lost two flies), and caught two nice bluegill. Not a bad first outing. I think a seed has been planted that will flourish for a lifetime. Well, at least until he discovers girls.

On the drive home I told my wife that I was going to build him a custom rod for Christmas and immediately started glueing cork together when I got home. That evening I got a call from Thomas. You guessed it, "Hi Uncle Mike, I'm bored. When are we going fishing again?" Then he asked if I would build him a rod. I told him I'd think about it. Can't wait to see him at Christmas! Tight Lines Thomas! ~ Mike Baker

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