AFIELD WITH FRIENDS
I knew John Arway, executive director of the state Fish and Boat Commission, was on the right track when he showed me a photo of a real catch of crappies and bluegills taken from Saylors Lake.
When you spend a day staring into a 10-inch hole cut in the ice with last winter’s temperatures and a grandson at your side, I knew another young angler was being addicted to fishing. Addiction to fishing is like smoking – once you get the habit at an early age, it is very difficult to quit.
My longtime friend and fishing companion Dick Cheney told the world in his new book, “Heart,” he started to smoke about the age of 7, had one of five heart attacks when he was 34 and was fortunate to get a new heart. And, his most enjoyable activity today is relaxing and throwing 60 feet of fly line while floating and fishing the South Fork in Idaho.
With opening trout season just around the corner, we need to think about equipment that matches the physical abilities of our young anglers. That all begins with the purchase of a fishing rod. A 7- to 7 1/2-foot rod equipped with a Medalist single-action reel is a good choice and won’t break your pocketbook.
Since we are going to start out on small streams, we need to buy a double-tapered floating line. Choose a smaller capacity reel and add some backing to the double taper line.
If your reel capacity is limited and we are working with small streams, a trick is to cut the line in half at the middle and that will give you two lines. We have to remember on small streams the trout in this case seldom run out of small pools.
Choose a tapered leader that is less than the length of your rod or construct your own. I like the tippet end to be around 3X on all my leaders. That way I can attach and construct the business end of my leader to suit the conditions.
If you’re drifting worms and salmon eggs, attach 10 to 14 inches of 4X to the end of your leader with a blood knot or one of your choice. If you are over trout and conditions permit, start with two BBs above your blood knot and keep adding. I don’t like shiny shot or those with ears because educated trout know the difference and the ears will spin your subsurface fly.
If I am serious, I place all my shot outside in rainy weather, allowing them to oxidize and reduce glare.
Opening season for trout is a fun time for young anglers and, as always, salmon eggs and worms are sure to attract some freshly stocked trout It is a time for the old timers to leave their fly rods at home and pass on some important skills.
It is a time to teach, and small streams that have plenty of brook trout are my choice. A trip to streams such as White Deer Hole, Muncy Creek and Little Bear Creek and Upper Lycoming above Ralston are sure bets.
Teach them that the most important thing is presentation. Chuck a small stick or a cork in the water and watch it float merrily downstream. Then attach a string to the stick or cork and show them the motorboat wake as it is pulled in the current.
The 10 percent of the fishermen who catch 90 percent of the fish can show you how it’s done. It’s all about presentation.