In­tro­duc­ing young kids to fish­ing is nec­es­sary for the sport’s fu­ture.

If you want to re­mem­ber what fish­ing was like when you were a grade-schooler, take some grade-school­ers out for a day of bluegill fish­ing. You’ll have a blast. But if you want to ac­tu­ally fish like a kid, bring them home

Field and Stream - - CAMPFIRE - —D.H.

When we fi­nally reached the bank of the spill­way, I gath­ered up my charges: four freck­led, tow-headed boys, jab­ber­ing with ex­cite­ment, all hyped up on soda and candy, rods at the ready.

We’d stopped at the con­ve­nience store for nightcrawlers, where the kids begged for drinks. I al­most said no. But then, what the heck, I fig­ured, it’s sum­mer, and you’re only 9 years old once. Next, we picked up bob­bers at the Five & Dime, which has an en­tire aisle de­voted to nov­elty candy. I in­sisted that they all share just one pack­age—so they chose a com­plete gummy meal, with gummy cheese­burger, gummy hot dog, gummy fries, and gummy condi­ments. We walked right past the ice-cream shop on the way to the wa­ter, but I had to stand my ground some­where.

At the spill­way, on a muddy bank, the boys caught one bluegill af­ter another, faster than I could un­hook them, un­tan­gle lines, and take pic­tures. It was chaos. Then, to each of their main lines, I tied a drop­per and added a Hare’s Ear Nymph from a fly box in my vest. The mad­ness dou­bled as the boys hauled in fish two at a time. They jumped and squealed. When they tried to stand still—to bait a hook or make a cast— they ac­tu­ally wig­gled, like overex­cited pup­pies. It didn’t last long. But for a lit­tle while, it was pure sum­mer rap­ture.

One by one, the boys lost in­ter­est, and we headed back home. I hadn’t fished at all, of course. It never re­ally oc­curred to me un­til

I dropped my boy with his mom and his buds with their par­ents. Then I sneaked back down to the spill­way with my fly rod and caught bluegills non­stop un­til dusk. Walk­ing back to the car, I passed the ice-cream shop and no­ticed that the soft-serve fla­vor of the day was cof­fee. What the heck, I fig­ured, it’s sum­mer, and you’re only 48 once.

Blue Streak When it comes to sim­ple sum­mer fun, catch­ing one bluegill af­ter another is hard to beat.

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