Is there anything better than watching a youngster who is carefully and intently watching the end of his pole for the telltale sign that a fish is biting?
That is the American tradition, right? But for a number of reasons, kids today sometimes don't have the opportunity to experience a trip to the water.
Recently, I had a chance to go on a special fishing trip with two important people in my life and to let a new angler experience the thrill of the catch. My youngest son, Billy, was coming up for our annual Father's Day fishing trip, and 11-year-old Ivan Teskey, who is my favorite nephew and who lives near Mayer, was coming to spend a week at the house.
Because nothing in life is free, he exchanged a little yard work for the chance to experience his first-ever fishing trip. The game plan was simple.
We would head out to South Cove on Lake Mead for an evening on the water in pursuit of hungry striped bass and channel catfish. We stopped at the Region III Game & Fish Office to pick up the appropriate licenses and stamps, then it was up to Meadview, where we opened up my fishing place, El Campo De Pescado, ate some dinner at the Crow's Nest and headed down to the lake.
The sun was dropping fast and the water was perfect as we slid the Skeeter into the lake and made the 20-minute run near Hualapai Cove, where I have caught some good fish in the past. We had just dropped the anchors when I realized I had forgotten the floating lights in Meadview.
Oh well. We turned on the extra lantern and used it to cast a light into the water to draw in some baitfish. We had just a half bottle of propane, so the light wasn't going to last long.
With the trip off to less than an auspicious start, the only thing to do was bait up and settle in for the night. It didn't take Ivan long to get the first bite of the evening. His first ever fish was a chunky striper that weighed just over a pound.
Then, he caught another striper, then another. In fifteen minutes, he had three in the boat. Billy and I hadn't gotten so much as a bite! We just looked at each other as the first-time angler kept reeling 'em in - with a big grin on his face. Finally, I got in the game and started catching fish. So did Billy.
We fished until about 2:30 a.m. then called it quits. It was good timing, as both our ice chests were completely full! The final tally was 15 fish for Billy, 20 for Ivan and I ended up with 59.
The next morning was spent filleting fish while the boys cleaned the boat and garage. But Ivan had caught the fishing bug. He wanted to go again before he went home. So one more trip was planned, and this time local bass pro Shane Moline went out with us. We had another great night. Ivan bested his old record by catching 25 stripers, and once again we filled up two ice chests.
Right now, the bite is good all night on Lake Mead, and if the kids can stay awake, they'll catch a lot of fish. If you want to have a lot of fun, and get some yard work done, take a kid fishing. You'll be glad you did.