Sunday, October 7, 2012

How to Hook a kid on Fishing

It was a chilly morning on Saturday.  You can tell that Autumn is taking its self seriously as the weather is chilly and the leaves are turning colors this very early day in October.  I was going to meet Monique, a friend of mine from high school and her son Alex for some bass fishing.

We met, loaded up the car, and headed to a pond I know.  This is the same pond I used in my 
Inch by Inch - A Measured Approach to Fishing post.  I knew we'd all have a good chance to catch bass here.  It was only a matter of figuring out what they wanted to bite today.

It was a post cold-front day and the air temperature had dropped.  I knew this time of year can be tricky for catching largemouth bass.  On one hand they eat lots preparing their bodies for the coming winter.  On the other hand there are plenty of opportunities for cold fronts and shifting barometric pressure to make a pond that normally has good bite turn into a big puddle of bass with lockjaw.

As Monique, Alex, and I approached the water I explained we wanted to take it easy, not walking too hard and make a long cast from ten or so feet away from the water's edge.  I have learned both from other fisherman and personal experience that big bass can park right off a spot you walk up to and once you spook them you'll never catch them.

Alex had an orange skirted spinner bait tied on to his line.  One cast parallel to the shoreline to the left, one cast parallel to the shoreline to the right, and one cast straight in front of him and BAM!!!

Alex called  he has a fish on.  I looked over and his Ugly Stik was bent in half and the Shakespeare reel that came with the combo was ticking and straining to handle the fish on the other end.  Alex was patient.  This wasn't his first fish and he played it perfectly bringing it to the shore when we realized how large this bass actually was.

Once the fish was on shore I ran to get my scale from my tackle bag.  Third cast and Alex hits a weighed 4.5 pound largemouth!!!  Way to go!!!  

Alex hits again while I'm still tying on lures for Monique and me.  Second fish on the orange spinner.

I show Monique how to throw a spinner bait, fan cast, count the bait down in the deeper part of the pond then reel and watch the tip of her rod twitch with the rhythm of the willow blade.

We all rotate around the pond when Alex hits fish again.  The orange spinner catches another bass.

It took some time for me to dial in what the bass wanted but I figured it out.  They stopped liking spinner baits and started hitting swim-jigs.  My first bass came on a bluegill colored 1/2 oz Strike King KVD Heavy Cover swimjig with a 4" Big Hammer swimbait trailer.

I dug into my tackle bag an found two more swimjigs and set Monique and Alex up with 4" Big Hammer trailers.  Alex wasted little time before he nailed a largemouth with the Big Hammer.

I hit the final bass of the trip after reeling in all the way across the pond and being surprised by a bass grabbing my Hammer mere feet from the shoreline.

Monique was still fishless.  We tried changing swim-bait trailers on her jig, changing retrieve, I even made a few accurate casts to spots that should hold willing fish but none bit.  Today Monique would be skunked. Fortunately for Alex he wasn't.  Alex had the most fish of the day and his first fish was the big fish of the day.  Honestly a 5 pound largemouth is a giant in the northern regions of the USA.  A 4.5 pounder is truly a fish to be proud of.  Based on Alex's comment when his mom posted a picture of his big ol' largie on Facebook he enjoyed catching it.

How do you hook a kid on fishing?  Make sure the kid is in the best position to hook a fish to measure others against for a long time.  Make sure the kid catches something they can tell their friends about until the next time they go fishing.  Alex said he enjoyed himself and restated it again on Facebook.  I'd wager he's hooked.