Teaching how to fish never takes a day off

John Liechty

For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed sharing information with others. Since I was a small child, I have eagerly helped others to learn. Teaching is one of the most gratifying things to do, and to see success come from a lesson is very rewarding for me. Each day that I am hired to take people to the lake, my primary focus is on having fun, but I also want them to leave the water with a better understanding of “how to.” But, what about the days that I don’t have clients and i’m not out on the lake instructing?

Well, believe it or not, I spend my free time fishing as well. And, my most valued student is my daughter. She is now 2.5 years old and one of her favorite things to do is to go fishing at White Pines Lake with Dada. We talk all about fish behavior, angling strategies, lure rigging methods and presentation and, most importantly, mud. She likes to play in the mud.

Recently, while enjoying our time along the shoreline of this peaceful mountain lake, we met some other youthful fishing enthusiasts and gladly assisted them.

On one occasion, as my daughter landed her first bass, a couple and their son watched with excitement. They cheered as she reeled the feisty bass to the shore. The fanfare added to the overall Xperience for her. Once the fish was landed, we carefully removed the hook and released the fish back into the water. They congratulated my daughter and politely asked, “What are you using?”

I could have said, “A rubber worm,” and left it at that, but instead, I instinctively went into a full breakdown of the complete setup. I said, “It is a 5-inch watermelon/red Senko, rigged weedless on a Gamakatsu 3/0 extra wide gap hook. The key is to cast to the edge of the weedline and let it drift lifelessly to the bottom. Then twitch it every few seconds to coax one into biting.”

For some, this would have been too much information, but they took advantage of the lesson and thanked us for spending the extra time. I’m sure they went and bought some and are now catching fish on them.

On another outing, my daughter and I were wading ankle deep in a shady little cover when a couple of youngsters decided to join us. They began to cast alongside us as I noticed their gear was in need of some care. Without hesitation, I said, “Let me see that thing,” and the young boy gladly passed his rod and reel to me. I began to take out the loopy, twisted birds’ nest and straighten the line. I handed it back, he thanked me and proceeded to cast. I watched for a few minutes and noticed his technique needed a little work, as he was not casting very far at all. After a short tutorial on how to cast, they were both elated and casting their lures out into deep water.

Sometimes it only takes an extra minute or two to steer someone to success. Instilling confidence and educating these young anglers is a lesson I happily teach from day to day. I like to think that these brief moments may lead to the next greatest catch, years of enjoyment in the outdoors and, most importantly, a lifetime of fun.

John Liechty is the owner of Xperience Fishing Guide Service in Angels Camp. Contact John at 743-9932.

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