I got out of work a little early and raced home. I had fishing on the brain and there’s no person I’d rather fish with than my son Harry (6). He loves it almost as much as I do. We live about a mile from Delaney Pond. It is a small network of streams culminating into a pond that’s about 1/2 long and a 1/4 mile across. It is full of bass of all sizes, but challenging to fish with all of the weeds and stumps. In late summer, it is even challenging to boat as the water level lowers and teeth-chattering stumps lie just under the surface waiting to stop the boat with a clunk. I got home and loaded the new jon boat into the truck and Harry and I were off. Within minutes I was rowing out into the open water while Harry talked a mile-a-minute with excitement.
I had promised Harry that I would get him his first bass this season and to this day had failed. He’d caught bucket loads of sunfish, but lacked the patience to effectively fish the weedless Yamamoto Senko rubber worms that I was catching all of my fish with. As soon as it hit the water, he would have to fight the urge to reel it in. The evening wore on and I caught two small bass and had a lot of action on the line. Harry…nothing. He was starting to wine a little and making excuses about his bad luck. I could see that he was done with fishing for the night solely out of frustration. The sun was setting and we were running out of time. Not only for the evening, but the pond was getting tougher and tougher to navigate as the stumps continued to emerge with each passing day.
I put my pole down and turned my attention to Harry. “Let’s get you a fish,” I said. He smiled out of the corner of his mouth, but I could see he had little faith. I swapped out his rubber worm for a Jitterbug. I thought maybe if he would see it on the water, it would be a bit more interesting for him. That worked, but the Jitterbug still requires some patience as you don’t want to reel it in right way. I thought a Mepps Spinner would be a good choice for his attention span, but with the weeds would be very annoying. So I opted for a floating Rapala Minnow. I tied it on and gave him some instruction. He reluctantly casted the small lure out into the calm water.
The minute the lure hit the water, a fish hit it so hard that it flew up about a foot out of the water.
“Whao!” Harry yelled. “Daddy did you see that?!” He turned around to look at me. His eyes were brighter than the ball of fire setting in the west and his mouth was wide open. Harry was back in the game.
“Watch your lure,” I said calmly through an ear to ear smile. “Don’t forget to set the hook.”
Again, a fish attacked the lure and pulled it underwater. Harry yanked the pole to set the hook, but the fish spit the hook out. The lure snapped out of the water and went shooting through the boat between us. We both laughed as Harry reeled it in for another cast.
“Sorry,” he said sheepishly. “Guess I should settle down.”
“No way buddy!” I excitedly replied. “Get that thing back in the water! They’re hungry!”
The next cast got attacked again. Harry set the hooks and the fight was on. The fish dove deep and pulled the line out of Harry’s Zebco 33 reel. Harry grunted and groaned as he pulled the monster from the depths. Eventually, the fish emerged. Harry had caught his first large mouth bass. His first “real” fish. His smile was contagious as he passed it over to me. I pulled the hook out of the fish’s mouth and passed it over to Harry to admire. It was only about a pound or two, but the satisfaction to both Harry and I was immeasurable.
“That’s a big catch, buddy,” I said.
“Thanks Dadda,” he endearingly replied.