The smile says it all

(Submitted photo)

Are you looking for a barrage of non-stop questions? How about continuous activity and squirmy fidgeting? How about tangled lines, lost bait, and lots of snacks? Simple. Take an 8-year-old out fishing who thinks he knows everything about fishing and you will have a hand full, or should I say a boat-full.

As a grandpa, I feel it is my responsibility to give my grandkids the opportunity to get out and experience what I experienced as a kid growing up. As a kid, our family didn’t have a motorized fishing boat to go fishing, we had a row boat. I can so vividly remember my Dad rowing the old wooden boat fast enough so we could troll a red and white daredevil lure behind hoping to catch anything, especially northerns. We didn’t catch much of anything, if at all, but what it did was spark an interest in me that still burns even today every time I get into my motorized fishing boat. What my Dad and I also did, which lit the fire, was to wade fish, or anchor a rowboat fishing for largemouth bass, close to the reed beds up north. I would tag along with my Dad in our swim trunks as we worked our way wading along the inside edge of the reeds. Equipment needs were minimal and inexpensive. A Zebco 202 spin-cast rod and reel combo and a nylon stringer were the extent of the fishing gear. A smaller red and white hula-popper was the bait of choice. The presentation was simple. Precisely cast the hula-popper in a seam of the thick standing green reeds and slowly retrieve the bait, making short quick jerks, making the hula popper burb water out in front of it. This would drive large-mouth bass crazy into striking this infamous top water bait. Ideal conditions for this type of presentation were hot still muggy afternoons when the wind was calm and the water surface was as smooth as a glass table top. Such fond memories I will never forget.

As I grew older and was able to go wading or rowing along the reeds by myself, a simple blue original 2 ¾ inch floating Rapala became my bait of choice. It was clearly my hands-down favorite day-in and day-out. My presentation with this lure was also quite simple. Find the seams in the reeds and carefully cast the floating Rapala into these pockets doing a slow retrieve with the occasional twitch. This floating Rapala pattern, along with the hula-popper presentation, are still relevant today. The reeds from my youth are still as productive today, whether wading or anchored in a row boat, as they were many years ago using these simple techniques.

These memories are relived every time I watch my grandkids fish the same reed beds, with the same type lures, doing the same type of presentations finding the seams in the reeds, and catching largemouth bass and sunfish. It makes for huge smiles on my Grandkids faces, which are cherished by their Grandpa, hoping those same memories I have are being ingrained as memories that will last a lifetime, and be shared with other generations to come.

Jeff Weaver is an outdoorsman and columnist.

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