August 08, 2018The fishing bug could bite at anytime. You just never know, so it's best to continually provide opportunities for youngsters.
Let me tell you about my most recent experience.
The rock bass fiercely defended his bed in the clear waters of northern Michigan. We have a family vacation home on the lake near the tip of Michigan's lower peninsula. From the dock, my grandson, Ryker, 8 years-old, dangled a worm in front of the fish taunting it to bite. Ryker's persistence finally paid off, the rock bass inhaled the hook and a fishing story was born.
A few weeks later, Ryker asked to go fishing again. Delighted with the request, I helped him rig his fishing pole, showed him how to put a leech on the hook and cast it out into the lake.
"Reel slowly," I tell him. "Make that leech swim for you and maybe you'll catch a big ol' smallmouth."
It wasn't long and a fiesty smallmouth gobbled up the leech. Ryker's pole bent, his reel sang, his eye's widened as he struggled to reel in the fish. His dad, uncle and cousin were on the dock with him encouraging him as the smallie leapt out of the water. Finally after a mighty battle the fish was safely in his hands. Not his first smallmouth, but clearly his largest.
I'm blessed with two other grandsons, Zadyn and Beaudry. They're too young to spend time fishing. At age 5, Zadyn is more interested in jumping off the dock than fishing from it and Beaudry is mere months old. Yet, I look forward to another generation of Jorgensen fishermen, if they follow in older brother Ryker's shoes.
Teaching a younster to fish is no easy task. First, the attention span of a youngster is about 15 seconds, if that long. A tackle box is more like a treasure of untold wonders, filled with tiny harpoons, waiting for busy little hands to be stuck knuckle deep.
"Let's try this one Papa," Ryker says, holding up a red and white Daredevil.
I explain each lure is for different fish and bass don't like daredevils.
"They might, lets try it," I'm told. No sense arguing, let's give it a cast and see. "Yep Papa, you're right! What about this one?" Fishing with a youngster is an exercise in untangling – endless tangles. My eyesight is bad, so unraveling fishing line is near impossible. Yet I wouldn't trade a moment of it. Maybe not productive fishing time, but that's what Grandpa's do.
Those moments bring back memories of when his dad was little, asking the same questions—moments that went by way too fast. And now, here I am with his children.
There are many benefits to spending time fishing. It offers a appreciation for the outdoors. To observe nature, spotting eagles, loons and ducks. It provides us with a way to talk about nature and an understanding of providing food for the table. It teaches patience, determination, respect and is an opportunity to drive home a lesson in safety.
Spending time with your grandchildren in the outdoors lets them know that you've put everything else on hold so you can be with them. And sometimes the time spent just may be nothing more than hunting for signs of Bigfoot in the north woods.
I've discovered an unspoken promise between grandfathers and grandsons which is to simply make the most of the time you have with each other. And if that means casting a Daredevil to smallmouth – well who knows, maybe one will bite.
Randy Jorgensen has been with the Tri-City Times since 1980, he lives in Imlay City and is active in many community organizations. Randy enjoys the outdoor sports and travel. His columns are generally of life experiences with a touch of humor.