A new family just moved in across the street from me, and I found out a few days ago when talking to the Dad that his 8-year-old son wants to be a professional fisherman someday. He told me how his son, Riley, studies about fish all the time by making flash cards and quizzing himself about techniques and different ways to catch fish. I thought to myself “that’s how I used to be!”
After meeting with Riley, I realized he was a very knowledgeable little angler. He told me stories of some of his fishing trips with his grandpa and told me about his biggest bass he had ever caught. We chatted for a while, and planned to go fishing yesterday because he was on spring break.
I told my girlfriend about our plans, and I got her to come with us. I had big plans of putting Riley and my girlfriend, Anna, on some big bedding fish, as Norris Lake is a great place to learn how to sight fish. After an hour of looking I realized that the spawning season had already come and gone similar to what had happened on Lake Norman.
Scratching my head for a way of hooking them up with some fish, I tied them on shaky heads. The shaky head bailed me out, as we each caught several bass and a couple of nice smallmouth. Riley actually caught the biggest of day, which was a 3lb smallmouth. It made his day! He told us that it was his biggest smallmouth ever! Anna and he had been keeping score all day and the results for our little tourney was first place – Riley, second – Anna, and last for me.
I will take a last place in return for helping Riley catch his biggest smallmouth. I remember my first big smallmouth like it was yesterday. I was fishing with my dad and brother, and I thought I was hung in a tree, when the smallmouth came up and jumped. I screamed, “I’m not hung Dad, I have on a giant!” I fought it for a long time, and finally got it in the boat. It was between 4 and 5 pounds, and I caught in on Norris when I was around Riley’s age. I was hooked forever after that!
Kids are the future of this sport, and it is our job as anglers to take them fishing and get them excited about the outdoors. The B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Youth and high school bass fishing are two great programs to get involved with, or just take some neighborhood kids. They will really enjoy it, and you will too. Riley made the day more enjoyable as he kept us entertained with his stories of catching giant carp off the bank, catching a 6-pound bass out of his favorite pond, crappie fishing with his grandpa, and countless others. It was a great day on the lake.
Remember to Chase Your Dreams!