Choose reaches that allow for easy walking
Eliminate expectations of (1) covering a lot of water, (2) catching a lot of fish
Wear a backpack carrier, so the boy always has the option of walking or riding
Let the boy dictate the pace – let him amble and fall and stop and look and grab and hold
Don’t hover over him – just watch barbwire and deep fast corners
Don’t bring a lot of gear – rather bring a lot of water and snack food
More to it than that but that is the basic recipe it seems. I was quite sure that the day would be only marginally good, because my patience usually don’t last too long. But here it all played out really well. Over the entire day (8 AM to 5 PM) Danny only whined once (when we lingered a little too long at a corner hole), and I really did no barking (latter item being more important than the former). And that was my goal: to lay off the kid and let him be. Sounds like it should be easy but it’s not always easy. It got to the point of him telling me that he really liked the day and that got me good.
So I guess the relevance here is that there is wide range of fishing that a guy can undertake and variety of fishing adventures that a family can engage. A few pics posted below can communicate well the quality of day enjoyed by father and son.
Report and notes:
(1) Our morning stream was a popular fishery, packed with brown trout. We saw only two other people though: a guy out fishing with his ~8 year old son. Both were fly casting.
(2) We caught some trout using standard nymph rig.
(3) The afternoon stream was a lesser-fished, more marginal water that requires walking a long easement trail through fields and down into the ravine. I’d never been there before. Heavy pasture area. Some decent holes. Picked up one really pretty, good sized brown with big spots throwing a black streamer.
(4) At the base of the hill sloping down to that stream, Danny took one step into a big, fresh cow pie. Then took another step in so both feet were lost. Then, being that he was standing on a lubricated slope, his feet went out from under him and he fell on his bottom. Then he laid back and put his hands in it. Chuckling as I recall it. True to his character he did not become alarmed and he did not whimper for one second. He made some declarative statements about being in cow poop and then he stood up. Manure was under fingernails and in toes, etc. Not on his head though – good thing there. We removed all clothes at streamside, and scrubbed with sand. Then wrung them out and re-soaked over and over until most all of the manure was gone. Then he donned the wet clothes and without a word of complaint, started downstream.
The eyes have it: characteristic sweat on nose bridge, scar courtesy of brother, chocolate smeared on left eyebrow.
There is no government so worthy as your son who fishes with
you in silence beside the forest pool.
There is no national glory so comely as your daughter whose hands
have learned a music and go their own way on the keys.
There is no national glory so comely as my daughter who
dances and sings and is the brightness of my house.
There is no government so worthy as my son who laughs, as he comes up the path
from the river in the evening, for joy.
- last stanza of To A Siberian Woodsman, by W. Berry