Good morning brothers.
This past weekend I went fishing with my son for the first time.
Not the first time ever, mind you, but the first time this year.
Last season we only fished together a few times, and while editing some videos of us casting a blown out creek, I realized two things:
- I am a grump and terrible at patiently explaining things.
- He loves to fish in spite of my grumpiness.
Talk about a gut punch.
I do not deserve his unconditional love – but, the great thing about realizing you’ve screwed up, is that it gives you an opportunity to make a change.
Discover something wrong? Droppin’ the ball, Dad? Fix it.
And so, the rigs were rigged. The snacks were packed. The plans were made. The hope, was that this year we could turn the page, we could start to fish together in a way that really focused on him. After all, when you’re fishing with kids, the focus has to be on them no matter what – if you try to multi-task (which never works in any capacity) you will quickly get annoyed with their questions and snags and tangles and break-offs… instead of using every single event as a teaching moment.
But… you can still make some casts… if you’re smart. (And no, up until now I have not been smart. Shocker.) In fact, when you’re fishing with kids, it’s a great opportunity to work a bait or practice techniques that require no maintenance.
What is a “No Maintenance” Bait?
A hardbait of some sort.
Take your pick: topwater, buzzbait, crankbait, jerkbait, spinnerbait, chopper, chugger, chigger (wait that’s not a bait)… but nothing with any sort of soft plastic that can tear & steal your attention. This means that swimbaits, swim jigs, jigworms, Texas, California, Carolina and Condoleezza Rigs are not an option!
I opted for this crank and a jerkbait. Nothing else.
The kids, however, should get something that is going to get all sorts of bites. I started my son off with a simple jigworm rig, but after a while, made strike detection even easier by putting a 4″ Strike King Ocho on a black o-ring and light wire wacky hook underneath a slip-float. This was paired with 8lb Seaguar Invizx – giving him invisibility and enough power to lift most fish straight up onto the bank.
A bobber rig will give them the chance for a big bass, but also give them something to watch. Something to do. If you instruct your child to cast – let it sit for 5 seconds – then lift the rod tip to pull the bobber in about 5 feet and let the stickbait pendulum back down underneath the float – then repeat – it gives them “an active presentation” that is relatively snag-free and delivers enough activity to keep them happy and occupied. Most bass near the bank are going to strike or pass as soon as they see this little stickbait. There is no need to wait too long.
(Sidenote: does anyone know why some largemouth bass, like the one he caught above, can have red eyes like that?! They’re barely visible in the video, and look black in the photo – but trust me, they were red, like a smallmouth!)
Remember: if they are happy & occupied... you can make casts yourself, so long as you are constantly paying attention them them, their needs and their body language.
If the bite slows... SNACKS!
Body language turns negative... SNACKS!!
Hungry? SNACKS YOU FOOL!!!
It was a good day.
7 fish for him.
A few for me.
Burger, fries & a vanilla milkshake on the way home.
Brothers - THE METAVERSE IS LOOMING - ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS HERE - there is no time like the present. Take your kids outside. Do better than I used to do. Be patient. Be kind. Give them room to explore and grow - but teach them to love the outdoors now. Start today. Show them the real world, one that doesn't get spoon-fed to them through that little demonic glowing rectangle.
Sons & daughters. Stop scrolling. Start living.
Now this coming weekend... I'll take his older brother and try for a repeat... I hope you do the same!
Progress. Getcha' sum.
Tight Lines & Godspeed, Patriots.
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