It was time for him to teach. He had spent a lifetime of acquiring skills and living life the best way he could… at least the way he thought it should be lived. Now it was time to pass on some of what he learned and, in some cases, improved on; things like catching trout. But, one step at a time.
The boy was his grandson. He was almost ten and had been following him around the cabin for as long the boy could remember. “Papa” had shown him how to bait a hook, watch the bobber and what to do when it began to twitch, how to set the hook and reel it in while keeping the line tight. But Papa didn’t use the same kind of rod and he never used a bobber. Papa didn’t keep his line in the water as long as he did either, he made it fly through the air and never had a worm on the hook. What Papa had on his line was a single small hook covered with feathers.
It began with a 4 wt rod with floating line and poppers cast off of the dock. The boy spent hours trying to make the popper land on the water like Papa did. When he’d get discourage, Papa would laugh and tell him he was catching on and it would just take a little more patience. The boy always said, “Ok, Papa.” And tried some more. Finally, he got the tempo and hand coordination down to where he could send the line with the popper out far enough to reach the reeds that punched through the water in front and to the right of the dock,
He was proud of himself, but the best feeling came when Papa padded him on the shoulder and told him, “Good job.” His smile went from ear to ear and he knew he took a step to being like Papa.
All of a sudden, something pulled the rod tip down with a jerk. Instinctively he pulled back but realized fishing with a fly rod required two hands. With a little help from Papa, he grabbed the line with his left hand and following Papa’s instruction, held the rod upright while gathering in the line. Then, when there was no more slack, he began reeling in the line until the leader was almost through the tip guide. He grabbed the line and held it tight against the cork grip with both hands, raising the bluegill out of the water. His first fish on a fly rod and Papa was there to see it. Another smile appeared ear to ear with his chest protruding just a little further than usual.
It was now time to clean the catch and make plans for tomorrows fishing. Maybe Papa will take him to the river and let him fish for brookies. The boy was hooked.