As pledged, I took a 10-year-old boy fishing during our Labor Day visit to the family cabin knowing that it necessitated adapting the use of flies to his abilities. These abilities didn’t include the use of a fly rod.
A later-than-usual departure put us on the water after meat fishermen had occupied most of the best spots. But, predictably, a long, fast run was left wide open.After reaching this run by making our way through shallow water, I rigged up a fly ‘n bubble on the spinning rod, and rather than the typical dry fly, dropped two weighted nymphs off the end of the bubble. With Connor standing next to me, the demonstration began. I showed him, with a few false casts, how to cast/lob this rig without tangling it. I pointed to the upstream location that would offer the best presentation, then cast to it. I talked about how the bubble and flies should travel to where fish might be positioned. I cautioned him to always stop briefly at the end of every drift, and to slightly lift the rod. I demonstrated this technique. And the bubble disappeared and we got my child-like surprise — a fish on the first cast.
I was excited, so was Connor. After releasing the decent-sized rainbow trout, I handed the spinning rod to Connor, who did a great job of listening, so was able to cast and position the bubble ‘n flies for decent drifts. There was constant urging to take a step or two forward to get a bit more distance, and a few tangles that required my assistance, but he did well.
Well enough to entice half a dozen strikes, and hook most of those. However, there would be no landing of these trout. The fast-moving water, the suddenness of the strikes and perhaps simply a young boy’s excitement might have been a bit too much. I seem to recall that it was tough at that age to remember to keep the rod tip up.
I don’t know if it was this lack of landing fish or just the distractedness that comes with being 10 years old, but after about and hour and a half, Connor was ready to move on to something else. I quick hiked up to a higher position allowed for a cell phone signal and a call to the cabin for taxi service. I did get some additional and somewhat silly fishing in after Connor left. The bite was on through noon and I was able to fool a good number of fish.
I also was able to fool a few wild brown trout during a walk with The Wife and I took along a nearby canal. This is where the family schnauzer, Nevada, got his first face-to-face meeting with trout. I don’t think he liked the fact that I put his newfound friends back in the water.
The rest of our weekend was filled with wine tasting, swimming in the lake, eating good food and generally enjoying time being away from the everyday.
In the end, I’d call Connor’s fishing experience a good one. The proof of success will be in whether he again asks to be taken fishing.