So yesterday I took my six year old son out for an all day fishing excursion in search of trout. He has accompanied me many times before to many different places, but yesterday seemed different for some reason. For one thing, we live in Ohio and it was over 70 degrees in March? Freaky! But it wasn’t just the weather.
For the most part over the last 3-4 years when he goes out with me we hit the bluegill pond or some similarly innocuous venue. Wading rivers can be tricky with kids, he doesn’t have a set of waders, yet, and I was a little apprehensive about what kind of water we could cover on a trout strem. Basically up until yesterday I was certain that having him along would hinder my ability to get to where the fish are, and I didn’t want to put him in any sketchy situations because when it comes down to it, it’s just not worth risking.
But he is getting bigger (literally like a freaking weed) and it was time for him to see the trout stream from the right perspective.
Normally when we hit the bluegill pond or whatever we take a spinning rod and that’s what he uses. I use the fly rod and he tosses worms. So like usual, that was the plan.
When we get to the pull off by the bridge I rig up his spinning rod with a big old juicy nightcrawler and an indicator (bobber:-) and he heads down to the water’s edge to drown it. I rig up my 5WT put on my waders and am right there next to him a few minutes later. We moved down to a more fishy looking section below the bridge and after a few minutes later a guide acquaintance of mine arrived with a client. We said howdy and they begin working an inconsistently splashy rising fish in the main seam right in the middle. Between the four of us we bang this fish’s feeding lane like finger cuffs from both sides. The client misses a few strikes of the fish, I haven’t yet tossed my 5WT into the river, but my son has dredged the depths of the nearer seam into oblivion with his worm and bobber rig.
The fish began to rise a little more frequently. These spring stonefly hatches can be like an 80’s Honda engine with a vacuum leak. When they run, it’s good, but they tend to stall out more often than not. But when the sun comes out they fire up pretty well and the fish can turn on. Like my guide friend was doing yesterday, I think using an Adams in this situation works great, it’s close enough to get a take and not scientific enough that if you’re wrong they might think it’s something else, and take it anyway.
When the fish start rising, right in front of you, with a frustratingly splashy irregularity, it’s exciting. I could tell my son definitely felt the energy. I told him at this point that he should try throwing my fly rod. He obliged. I went back to the car and rigged up my 8Wt with a big juicy Mike’s Meal Ticket from Mike Schmidt at Angler’s Choice Flies and headed back to water’s edge.
When I found my son flinging fly to water, he looked at me and said, “I’m done with that stupid spinning rod, I’m going to be a fly fisherman.” I got all choked up and vaklempt.
After that we had so much fun, I forgot to take pictures.
On March 18th, 2012, a new fly fisherman was born, which in case you were wondering is the answer to how we grow the industry.
Just leave a 6 year old alone on the bank with a 5WT and some inconsistently rising trout, and a sputtering stonefly hatch. The rest will just work itself out.