The outdoors has special meaning to me. I caught my first fish at age 4 and shot my first duck at age 9. Nearly four decades later I still get excited when I get to spend any time outdoors. A lot has changed during that time but the anticipation and experiences are still similar and just as exciting. It’s a great place to be....Read More

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I can remember as a kid roaming the woods around Tuttle Creek Reservoir from dawn to dark.  Parents didn't worry then like they do now and the outdoors was a place to get lost as long as you knew your way home.  The discoveries, finds and experiences made lasting memories.  The things we could do, build and create were confined only by our imaginations.

My boys have had similar experiences growing up, although I keep much closer tabs on their whereabouts than my parents did me.  I tend to worry about them getting hurt or getting into a bad predicament and I'm much more protective.  I've tried to turn loose as they've gotten older and let them grow up and do things on their own.  But hard as I try I still want to help them out along the way.

A recent camping trip to Council Grove Reservoir found us getting plenty of rain and the lake rising.  I told Brandon and Cody and my nephew, Dylan, they should set a trotline from shore as the catfish would be hungry with all the run-off.  They readied the line and I helped them net shad and anchor the trotline, although they're plenty old enough now to do it all on their own.  I worried about them getting hooked, etc. 

The next morning after we returned from an enjoyable, although soggy squirrel hunt the boys were anxious to check the trotline.  I gave them instructions, a pair of pliers and a tub and sent them off into the lake with their life jackets securely fastened.  I watched as they checked many empty hooks until they got to deeper water.  Three nice channel catfish flopped and splashed as the boys relayed their success to those of us on shore with hollers and laughter.  It took them a while to get one of the fish off but between the three of them they finally managed to get him unhooked and into the tub.

They brought the tub to shore, proud of their catch and ready to show it off to sisters, parents and cousins.  After a couple photos the fish were released back into the lake.  They asked if they should rebait the hooks as they were all bare and I told them they weren't likely to catch anything during the day with the boat traffic and their swimming. 

But Cody decided that a ball of mud looked like tasty dough bait and he put a couple globs on the hooks at the end of the trotline unbeknownst to me.  That afternoon the kids were swimming and Brandon lifted up the end of the line to find another flopping, 3-pound channel cat that apparently decided Cody was right and ate the offering.

I wouldn't have thought it would work but kids don't know any better.  And sometimes you just have to back up and let them try as sooner or later they grow up and discover things for themselves.  If they fail, they still learn.  If they succeed, they just might discover they can catch a nice catfish on a glob of mud, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment