Saturday, June 22, 2013

Trout Lake Report: So Much Ahead

Happy Summer, everybody. This is what the world looked like at the moment of solstice on Friday.

This full-disk image from NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite
was captured at 11:45 UTC (7:45 a.m. EDT)
and shows the Americas on June 21, 2012.
CREDIT: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Jeremiah and I went to the lake to finish out the longest day of the year right, right to the very end. It has been a custom of mine in years past, and it was good to have him join me this year.

He started with his bait casting rod and reel, but he didn't have a casting bubble this time. The bubble broke on the last trip, so we had just tied it on the monofilament. It had a hole in it, so it whistled on every cast. Suddenly I hear woop-woop-woop-woop and something crashes into the bushes on shore. The bubble had snapped off on one of Jeremiah's power casts, taking the leader and fly with it.

This time Jeremiah used a big round plastic bobber. It seemed to be working OK, until after a long cast the line broke at the reel. As we were figuring out how to fix the problem he asked, "Did you bring your other fly rod?"

I had told him I would--just in case--and it was in the back of the tube. So I rigged him up and he went to work. He felt a little self-conscious at first, but he quickly figured out how to get the muddler to go where he wanted it to go. I had recommended that he keep ten feet of line out and simply flip it in to shore, but in short order he was making overhead casts.

He has the typical mistakes of the beginner, but I was impressed. I saw him look up and watch the line as he cast--with no suggestion from me, and I watched as he literally figured things out as he went.

And the kid's a perfectionist. I told him the closer the better, so he'd drop the muddler a foot from the bank, and just as I was calling out "Nice cast!" he'd pick it up, false cast five, ten, twenty times, and put it down eight inches from the bank, and before I could compliment him again he'd pick it up again and finally put it down four inches from the bank.

I didn't try to coach him to death. He doesn't know it, but he's a lot like me, and likes to figure things out for himself. And I think he's going to be good. So I said very little and let him fish. And I fished.

It was an unusual First Day of Summer, cold and overcast, and the fishing was the slowest it's been this Spring. So I was glad when Jeremiah got a few hits, even though he missed them. And I was elated when he finally hooked up.

First fish all by himself on a fly rod.

From then on I didn't feel like a Dad helping his son. I was just a Dad fishing with his son.

We headed on down the shoreline. I asked if he wanted to go first, but he didn't. He was really working the edge with a fine-toothed comb. I left the best spots untouched and pointed them out to him, and he stayed busy.

I was watching two flies now, and missed a couple fish because I was watching Jeremiah's fly instead of my own, but I still managed to catch a fish now and then.

And so did Jeremiah.

After this one Jeremiah said to me, "Fly fishing isn't as hard as I thought it was. When I was a little kid it was hard. But not now."

We worked our way clear down to the end of the shoreline by the little brown drake bay. There were a few drakes hatching, but the big hatch seems to be over. The swallows and nighthawks were still enjoying the few that remained--a swallow snapped one out of midair not five feet from me, and one wing was left to drift down to the water's surface.

A few fish still seemed to be looking up for them as well. I got a nice one.

So did Jeremiah, working over a great lie that I had already worked over.

We began the long kick back to the truck, and fished our way along until it got too dark. We tried some of the same good holes, places where I've caught Browns, but the Brown Jeremiah wants so bad eluded him again.

I tied on a little bead head woolly bugger for Jeremiah, and I kept my muddler, and we trolled through the dark. The moon peeked out of the overcast once to give us a silver guidepost.

About half way back Jeremiah began to complain that his legs hurt. I surprised him with the flash and got him in mid-complaint. Looks like they really did hurt. I've always said fishing in a tube is good exercise, and now I'm sure of it.

We made it back, though, and in spite of his pain Jeremiah kept ahead of me the whole time until right at the end. I went ahead then to point out the little take out channel in the willows. That's when I noticed he wasn't holding his rod.

"How come you didn't troll?" I asked. "Because a fish would never bite that!" he answered. It made me smile. If he keeps up with fly fishing, and I think he will, there are so many revelations, discoveries, and pleasures ahead of him.


  1. Wonderful. Jeremiah that brown will be yours soon.

    1. Thanks, Alan. I've been visualizing that moment when he sees the yellow flash.

  2. The only thing left for Jeremiah is perfecting that smooth slide of the fish into the net. He's got the rest covered.

    1. Ha! He's pretty good when the fish is hooked in the lip. I recently foulhooked a fish in the belly and was completely soaked by both ends thrashing the water before I finally got it in the net.

  3. Really, really, enjoyed this post, Jim! Helping our children on their initial float tube excursions, and, watching them learn and grow into more proficient lake anglers is a very satisfying experience.

    Really enjoyed the video of Jeremy landing that fish. Looks to me like he has found a new enjoyment in life. Thanks again for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Mel. Sounds like you know the feeling. It has indeed been one of the most satisfying things I've experienced as a parent.