I've fished off Nova Scotia using hand lines in a dory (Captains Couragous?) and gone after mackerel in Maine. I've enjoyed great catches of striped bass around Cape Cod and seeking barracuda in Key West, taking huge northern pike in Saskatchewan, and fishing for grayling and arctic char in the Northwest Territory.
But the truly wonderful fishing trips I've taken and remember best were on a much smaller scale. Like the time I took my small son and daughter for a morning on bluegill spawning beds, the outing I made with a very young niece to a farm pond for panfish, and the jaunt with my two very young grandsons to another farm pond for their first taste of bluegill fishing. Those were indeed great trips. And did they truly pay off? My son and daughter still love to go fishing with me, the niece now takes her young son fishing at every opportunity, and when my grandsons visited me recently, their first question was "When can we go fishing, grandpa?" We went the next day.
I'm sure every outdoorsman would like to have his sons and daughters become partners on outdoor fishing adventures, but it doesn't always happen. I still remember a trip to a good sized pond where I was joined by another angler with his young son. He gave the youngster an old, barely working fishing rod, then hurried off to the opposite end of the pond to fish for bass. The kid tried to fish, but the rod would barely cast and the line quickly tangled. He ended up sitting on the bank almost crying while his dad totally ignored his plight for over an hour. I'm betting that little guy said "No" when his dad next invited him to go fishing.
For every youngster I ever took fishing I followed a battle plan a general would have admired. I NEVER took a small kid fishing for muskies or largemouth bass — they're too hard for them to catch and too long between bites if they even happen. They were always taken to a carefully chosen farm pond, one that lacked briers or thorns, heavy brush or other obstacles. And on each occasion I never fished at all, remaining close to show them how to bait hooks, how to fish and how to remove the bluegills they caught.
I made sure there were plenty of good sized bluegills waiting too, and the equipment they used was first class, not junk. They got lots of advice, but always caught plenty of fish because kids love fast action, and equally love words of encouragement and praise when they landed a good one. If their attention lagged after catching a dozen or two doughty fighters, we took a break to enjoy sandwiches and soft drinks, and usually a walk around the pond looking for frogs and tadpoles, and muskrat holes. And I limited the trips to just an hour or two before heading home for a session of cleaning and a good dinner they'd caught themselves. Did it work? Like I said, the first words my grandsons offered was "When can we go fishing?"
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Hooks & bullets
• According to the Sportsmen's Alliance, grizzly bears in the Yellowstone area have recovered and no longer meet the definition of threatened or endangered species. And the DOI announced the removal of Yellowstone area grizzlies, numbering more than 700, from the endangered species list in 2017, based on sound science and millions of hunter dollars spent on researching and studying the bears. So Idaho and Wyoming announced intentions to hold conservative management hunts in the fall of 2018. Those hunts will not take place since a judge decided to vacate the delisting of the population there. The Sportsmen's Alliance and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation disagree, but the population is back on the endangered species list.
• Transportation Research Center, Inc. (TRC) will hold a lottery drawing for special archery deer hunt opportunities in Logan County on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the West Mansfield Conservation Club at 700 South Main St., West Mansfield. Registration will begin at 5 p.m. To participate, hunters must appear in person, be at least 18 years old, and present a valid hunting license and deer permit. Hunting dates will be scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 1 through Feb. 3 Approximately 14 hunters and their partners will be drawn.
• Readers can enjoy the magic of fall from pawpaws and apple bobbing contests to the largest popcorn festival in the world as Ohio offers festivals and events fun for families and individuals. Many festivals will have live music and scenic autumnal views, and all can be found in Find It Here in Ohio by visiting ohio.org and ordering a free copy of the calender of events.
Dick Martin is a free-lance writer from Shelby. Reach him at [email protected] You also can visit his blog at outdoorswithmartin.com.