• Dale Bowman

A daughter & a baitcaster: Ramble without the lady

TABLE ROCK LAKE, Mo.--It was a professional bird's nest of fishing line.

My daughter was frustated, but I just laughed and told her even the best fishermen get bird's nests.

You learn a few things as you get older. Not sure if that fully compensates for getting older, but I almost think so.

One of those things i've learned, and it took me a few years of trial and much error, was how to fish with kids.

Key is not to stretch beyond the time, especially when they are young. Second is to focus on them. Leave your own fishing rod at home or in the car and focus on the kids. To a point.

Sara is a teen now. So with her old enough to generally manage on her own, I will fish with her. While we are at the in-laws, she likes to fish, usually for crappie and bluegill. But she has caught some nice bass here, too.

I have been helping to go through her late grandfather's fishing stuff and I kept a few of his rods, one of which I thought was perfect to teach her how to use a baitcaster. It was light enough, yet the baitcasting reel worked easily enough I thought she could learn on it.

So last evening before supper, we went down to the lake. Well, she got the hang of the baitcaster. But then on her third cast by herself, she got a royal bird's nest.

(Of course that thought took me to Lorde doing ``Royals.'' My mind just works that way.)

So I switched with Sara and gave her my spinning rod with a finese worm. But frankly, she is not too keen on the slow working of a worm. So I changed her over to a deep-diving crankbait because she wanted something faster and she wanted to work off the deep end of the dock.

Like I said, it was a royal bird's nest and it took some time to work free. But it was pleasant time. There is something royally righteous about having a daughter who fishes.

Time. It has taken me time to appreciate that our daughter is the one who really like to fish, more than any of our three boys. Such is life, there's time to adjust, we do not have to be stuck in our ways.

Well, I finally untangled everything and walked out to be with her. I begin pitching a spinner bait in a slip by her. Sure enough, as I was lifting out one time, a little bass, a spotted bass (Kentucky) I think, whacked it.


So of course I switched Sara out to a spinner bait and told her to work the edges of the dock. Well, she missed a couple, and I ended up catching the best bass so far this trip. (Yeah, I know I should take off my sunglasses for photos.)

So far, I have caught all three bass: largemouth, smallmouth and spotted.

Today, I think we try a bit for crappie in the afternoon, then do bass toward evening.

Those were my main thoughts this morning as I rambled off up the Missouri hills, albeit without Lady, our family's mutt.

Several bluejays squawked on the way up and the way back. Crows called from the ridge top and from the lake. No ravens did I see or hear this morning. Many cardinals staked out the tops of trees.

It was a lively morning.

A loon called from the main cove. There should be the gobbling of turkeys, but so far I have heard none.

More trees have budded out and greened up in the few days we have been here. The redbuds have deepened in color.

Morel hunting this afternoon. It is my last chance.

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