I took a young friend out fishing today and it brought back memories of when I was young and exploring this new thing called bass fishing. I grew up in North Louisiana, on Lake Claiborne, back when it wasnt cool to be lake trash. I had a 14 foot aluminum boat with a 15 lb thrust Minn Kota trolling motor and to get a battery, I would steal the one out of my mothers car, our tractor, or any other way that I could find. When I was about ten or eleven, I saved my birthday money and bought a Zebco 33 and a Tiny Torpedo, took one of my dads old Johnson rods and started out to find those big green fish. I had watched those old guys in their shiny fiberglass boats and big ole motors fishing around the areas that I had bream fished since I was surely little. I launched my little boat and headed out past the boat houses into open water. My first cast with my new Zebco and the Torpedo was accurately placed on target, as soon as the plug hit the water an explosion occurred. That fish couldnt have been more than 2 lbs, but in my mind, she was all of 5 lbs.
I picked my young friend up this morning at 5 am at his house and returned to Hall Summit and we transferred to the truck with the boat rigged and ready. After stopping off at the convience store for drinks and ice we made our way to the ramp. We began by learning ramp ettiquete and boat safety, and headed out for the day. The day was spent with idle conversation, with some occasional learning opportunities taken. Our day was interrupted with a morning storm but we made the most of it by staying under a covered marina and having some interaction with another local angler.
At the end of the day, my young friend had learned how to tie a palomar knot, how to watch for schooling fish, and how to rig a Carolina Rig; and by the way, had caught his first bass. It was at this point that I couldnt have been more proud. He had hooked, fought, and landed a nice three to three and half pound fish on the C-Rig.
When I caught my first bass, I was alone; proud, but alone. I got the chance to enjoy my moment all over again and at the same time bask in his achievement. The look on his face was amazing; pride, joy, excitement, wonder, all rolled into one. Earlier this evening his mother called and thanked me for taking her son fishing and also told me You know you have created a monster. I am proud of my creation.
Here is a picture of my young friend, Bubba Bradford and his first bass. Anytime you get a chance to take a kid fishing; well, I cant tell you how much fun and rewarding it can be. The key here is have fun, dont make it work, take drinks and snacks, and KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).
Fair winds and following seas,
Dave the Dope Man
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