“It’s a monster!” Payton yelled out! His fishing pole, made for a child to catch tiny fish, bent in a 180-degree arch. Somehow, amazingly, he guided the monster close enough that I could grab its lower jaw. Seconds later it was in the boat.
Wow! It was a monster. 5.1 pounds is a big Largemouth bass. After carefully removing the hook, we slid her back into the water. The fish finned away, yet the memory will linger for a lifetime.
We’ve known 10-year-old Payton and his family for several years. His parents don’t fish and they want him to develop a wide range of interests. I, Rich have fished for most of my 72 years and offered to take him to a local pond. That was in the spring. We’ve since floated in my tiny row pram several times.
Mentoring. I thought I’d teach him how to fish. I sort of succeeded. At least by these skills he’s learned:
- Casting with one hand.
- Fishing without getting many tangles…..and being able to untangle most of the ones he does get.
- Learning knot tying.
- Identifying fish species.
- Picking the right lure and gently handling and releasing fish.
- Spotting mink, kingfishers, turtles, and toads.
- Collecting data. We keep length and weight records of the fish we catch.
What I didn’t realize before we started fishing was what I’d learn, including the patience needed to untangle snarls of line. I also learned some new easy-to-tie knots so I could show Payton. And, we had the chance to talk about conservation as we got to know each other.
Mentoring. It’s fun. Fishing has been our activity but an adult mentor can spark a kid’s interest in all sorts of activities, ranging from playing golf to fixing engines. It’s rewarding to share a hobby with a youngster…..and initiate a lifelong passion.