Since she has an intense interest in fishing, I recently spent some time on the water with my blood-thirsty 8-year old. I'm still not entirely sure who learned more on the trip.
Some family friends of ours live on Lake Livingston in East Texas. (Yes, you CAN hear banjos playing from their back porch.) They are friends with a very knowledgeable white bass and catfish guide and set up a morning trip for the four of us.
Bob and Cathy are very old and very experienced with all things rods-and-reels. I'm OK on the fishing front but my 8-year old daughter does not have a great deal of experience to draw upon. We all helped her from time to time and gave her some pointers but our guide Lee was GREAT in helping her with the rod, handling the fish and generally coaching.
We were jigging which is, in my opinion, a semi-boring but certainly productive way to fish. The general technique was to let the jig hit the bottom, quickly jerk it up a foot or two and then let it gently fall. You'd often get hits on the fall and you needed to pay attention to feel the bite.
Jill, NOT known for her lengthy attention span or willingness to follow rules or suggestions, stuck with the program for about 30 minutes. I'd remind her from time to time she was jerking the rod too much and Lee was as patient as he could be in offering her consistent, positive advice.
But the odd thing was, Jill, with her modified, epileptic seizure-like uncoordinated flailing which included spontaneous bird watching, laughing, trash-talking, testing the tensile strength of her gear and jerking her jig anywhere from 1.2 inches to 8-12 feet off the bottom, started catching fish.
A lot of fish.
At first I was thinking, oh sure, anyone gets lucky every now and then. But on her 12th gigantic white bass, I was beginning to think her "technique" was more valid than most. (As an aside, few things are as infuriating as fishing in the same water with the same equipment with the same lure and getting smoked by an 8-year old!)
So, after a while, instead of reminding her to "do what daddy or Mr. Lee was doing", I simply shut up and tried to emulate the child.
There is a lesson in there somewhere, even if I don't care to acknowledge it.
Needless to say, a good time was had by all and we have plans for another trip later this Fall.
I cannot say enough nice things about Loy and Lee Deason at LLD Lake Livingston Guide Service. They were great and treated Jill like a queen. Thank you again guys!
A Man in the Woods (and sometimes on the water)