When we idled up to the mouth of a bay that was just starting to show the first hints of green in the form of rice and lilypads, I handed my daughter a rod. It was rigged up with a weightless Fluke, and I showed her how to fish it to mimic a wounded minnow.
She made her first cast while I messed with a rod of my own. A few seconds into it she said, “I’m snagged.” When I looked up it appeared to be the kind of snag with gills and scales, so I told her to set the hook. The largemouth taped out at 19-inch and was a sign of a good day about to unfold.
She and I cruised through that bay tossing a variety of baits, but ending mostly with topwater frog imitations. It was surreal, and by the end of it both father and daughter had bass thumb and an air about them that they really had this whole fishing thing dialed in. I took Lila back into the cabin and swapped her out for her twin sister.
Round 2 was nearly as good, and both girls wore out the largemouths. These fish were shallow, and if you could make a long enough cast not to spook them, they were more than eager to eat. It was one of those magical days that come around once in a blue moon.
It was also a good reminder, whether you’re targeting bass or any other species, that when the bite is on, you’d better enjoy it. That type of day is special, and the times when you only have to cast in the general vicinity of big fish to get them to bite are, by nature, fleeting.
The girls and I talk about that early June day often, and we hope to replicate it on some rockpile smallies soon. Maybe we will, probably we won’t. It doesn’t matter because a single day where you can barely do anything wrong in the boat adds a lot of fuel to the tank for future trips. That’s no small thing for keeping the interest up in youngsters.
And, if I’m being honest, it does a pretty good job of keeping the fire stoked in older fisherman, too.