Ontario Fishing Network

Volume 1,  Issue 7 - Aug.  2001

Mary RileyThe FishWitch Journal - July 2001 (c) Mary Riley

If there's one thing I hate it's being outsmarted by a kid.  -- All fishermen know that fishing is about presentation; presentation of your offering to the fish. Presentation, however, takes on a whole new meaning when you're dealing with an eight year old.
    Chubbydude is the youngest member of our fishing group. He's short for his age but built like a bulldog and just as tough. He likes fishing but he doesn't like the waiting it entails. He expects to have a fish on as soon as his bait hits the water.
     So I had my doubts when recently I took four kids, ranging in age from 8 to 15, perch fishing for a day. Piece of cake, I thought, and was cocky enough to break the cardinal rule of kidfishing and took along my own rod.
     To my surprise, the two 15 year old boys would neither put worms on their hooks or take off their catches. I fixed that quick. The 12 year old girl, my daughter, had the same attitude, but I'm working on her.
      Chubbydude is a little different. He will bait his own hook and remove and release his own fish. He will not, however, deal with tangled line or spinning reels that snarl, or fishing spots that don't produce. He simply cannot understand how the guy beside him is catching fish after fish while his line is literally dead in the water.
      I showed him several times how to retrieve without encountering tackle problems, using the spinning rod and reel to teach him patience and angling skills. Unkown to me he was devising a solution of his own. As the day progressed and I was kept busy with all four kids, I finally noticed that Chubbydude had stopped complaining for quite awhile. I was unaware of him moving along our fishing "line".
      First, he tangled his line again, and asked Shane to fix it for him. While Shane worked on the mess, Chubbydude picked up Shane's rod and began to fish until he tangled it too. Next, he slyly moved to Mike and asked him to untangle the line on Shane's rod. As Mike obliged, Chubby picked up Mike's rod and was back in the water in no time. A few minutes later, Kathleen fell for the same tactic.
      I watched in disbelief as Chubbydude blithely caught fish after fish and deposited them in our catch pail, while the three other kids sat on the pier fighting with hopelessly tangled line.
      Now of course, being a responsible adult, I hauled Chubby aside and gave him a stern lecture on respect for other people's gear. I told him since he had been fishing since he was around four, and came from a family of experienced anglers, he should know by now how to fish without tangling his line on every cast. As he dutifully hung his head and looked suitably forlorn, I softened somewhat and of course felt like the proverbial you-know-what for being so tough on him. Like he says, he's "oney wittle".
       The afternoon wore on and Chubbydude was doing admirably. The other kids were thoroughly enjoying themselves, getting that happy tiredness that only comes from doing something fun. We had a competition with the most and biggest fish, and all the ragging and bantering that goes with fishing. The kids were begging for "just one more cast" (which is the best sign that they're well and truly hooked on the sport).
      And then Chubbydude had another big tangle. A real bird's nest this time. He was at the other end of the row of kids and called me in his best little boy voice, asking me to please come and help. So I laid down my rod (line in the water of course; you NEVER stop fishing) and strode down the pier to fix him up. It was such a mess I didn't notice when he was no longer watching over my shoulder.
      I figure that in about 3 days my rod should be ready to fish again.



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