March 29th, 1999
Catchin' Kids

by Bob Mowdy (aka Fishing4H)

We pulled the old fishing truck into the weeds along the old dirt road, got out and strung up our rods. The pools we planned to fish were already in sight, but the traffic on the road was almost nonexistent, and most of them were on a beer run and couldn't care less what we were up to.

My fishing partner was a lumbering 13 year old who was already six-foot two and 230 pounds. I couldn't come up with size 14 waders, so we decided to wade wet in short rubber boots.

We'd been practicing, he and I. Roll casts in the farm pond beside his house, long casting in the one beside mine. Target casting on the lawn when the pond banks were too muddy.

I thought Maybe, just maybe we were ready for an outing to a REAL stream. You see, my fishin' buddy has ADD, (Attention Deficit Disorder)and keeping him focused on casting was a real chore. For someone who cares passionately about fly fishing, it is really hard to teach someone who appears, for all the world, not to give a hoot.

The spot was picture perfect, the riffle spilled into the pool over a short ledge, and ran smack up against a granite outcropping, turning to form the deep pool. Fingers of ledge reached into the pool and provided us with access and good traction. Sam chose the far bank and planted himself on a strip of ledge just clear of the granite outcropping, and began to strip out line. I stayed on the other side of the pool, a scant 50 feet away, where I could coach and fish.

The purple woolly buggers were just small enough to mimic the resident leach population as well as the abundant dragonfly larvae, but getting my pal's interest focused to the task would be my day's challenge. I began the coaching that had become familiar to me, describing what I was doing as I did it, and hoping that there would be enough interest to keep Sam focused.

"Strip out line, make sure it stays free as it begins to move in the water, OK, now wiggle the rod tip and watch the line straighten out for you, ready for the pick up?"


Well, it was only a seven-inch shiner, but it could have been a trophy trout for all it mattered. Attention Focused. Lesson Learned.

And you ask me why I'm a 4-H Fishing Club Leader? ~ Bob Mowdy

If you are interested in teaching kids to fly fish, make sure you also read this week's LadyFisher Column, where Bob gives more info on the 4 H fishing program.

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