Young Folks and Fishing
by John Evans
(San Antonio, TX)
What Boy or Girl Wouldn't Want to Catch a Rainbow Trout?
Well, it happened again yesterday. I was taking a nice 5-mile hike in the Bauer Unit of Guadalupe River State Park, just to work off some of that holiday pecan pie, when I met a friendly family. For my daypack, I was carrying my Zimmerbuilt Guide Sling with a Suntech rod stuck in the back pocket.
After some pleasant words, the wife asked, “Are you carrying a radio?” That seemed like an odd question, so I asked her what she meant. “That green box on the front of your shoulder strap—is that a radio?” I glanced down and realized that she was referring to my neon green fly box that I always carry.
“No, ma’am; those are fishing flies. I Japanese fly fish.”
Now, here’s the interesting part, and it’s happened before. The youngsters immediately edged forward. All I had to do was whip out the little box and show them the bits of hackle and yarn. Next, I took out the Suntech rod and let them hold it. (Don’t let them hold it too long or you might not get it back!)
Both Mom and Dad were interested, and Mom even snapped a photo of the Tenkarabum rod sock so that they could remember the name for a web search.
The youngest boy was abuzz with questions. “You catch flying fish with those?” No, I explained that that’s what you call the artificial lures. Then he wanted to know how big a fish you could catch on the rod.
The wife asked the most frequent question I receive. “How do you land the fish if there’s no reel?”
I explained to them a little about tenkara, and then we parted company. They were a wonderful family, you could tell, just enjoying the outdoors.
But, here’s the neat part. As I started to walk along, I heard little feet pattering behind me. It was the boy tagging along for just a bit . . . with a few more questions.
It’s a rare event when youngsters aren’t interested in fishing . . . even in January . . . even when you’re quite a distance from fishable water.
So carry a tenkara rod and a fly box with you. It doesn’t add more than two or three ounces to your pack, and you might just have the beginnings of a fine conversation. If you meet someone who is interested in tenkara, don’t overwhelm them with too much information. Maybe you can encourage some young folks along the way.
If you do take a youngster fishing, go where they will CATCH something! Stick a dab of worm on the hook and cast it where there are plenty of panfish ready to gobble the bait.
There’s enough bad stuff in the world. Why not share something good in 2020?
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin
"Study to be quiet." - Izaak Walton 1653
"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." Col. Robert Venables 1662
As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.
The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.
Beware of the Dogma