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Rogers: Passing on the lessons to youngsters

It is always fun to have the opportunity to pass along knowledge from one person to the next. Sometimes the recipient of that knowledge is a peer, other times it is to someone younger who is eager to learn and try new things. That is what happened to me this week.

My younger son asked me if it was OK to invite a friend to go fishing one sunny afternoon. Of course I told him that was fine. I knew looking at the sky, however, it was going to be a tough day on the lake. There was hardly a cloud and little wind. Add to that equation gin clear water and I doubted the fish would be busting down the walls of the boat to get in it. They rarely are anyway.

The two boys started off with “power” presentations. In other words, they were using lures that are perfect for aggressive fish, or fish that might bite because of a quick reaction strike. I always let anglers use what they want because I have been “schooled” more than once by opening my big mouth only to be the recipient of a thorough thrashing as the lure I thought would not work out-fished me.

After 30 minutes or so, I switched from what I was trying to a more subtle presentation that would easily allow me to fish deeper and through the numerous weed beds that filled the bottom of this clear lake. I tied on a drop shot rig.

I have written about them before and I’m not going to go into the subtleties of using one this week, but I knew it would be effective in tough conditions.

It wasn’t long before I hooked a small fish. Of course, that garnered plenty of attention from the two boys. The air was filled with things like, “that’s not fair,” “come on,” and “it’s my turn.” Anyone that has fished with kids understands those comments are common when a person other than them catches a fish. I love hearing those words because it means I’m usually doing well.

About five casts later I nabbed another one. This scaly creature was a little better than the previous bucketmouth. The jeers and cheers ramped up one more level, yet the two youngsters continued to fish away with what they had tied on.

After the third fish that I caught, my son turned around and asked me to tie something else on for him. He still didn’t want a drop shot rig because he thinks they are hard to fish. He did want something that would fish deeper though. I obliged and soon he caught a real nice bass and suddenly he was the expert for the moment. His luck ran out quickly though and I kept bringing in fish.

I’m not sure how many I caught, but after three or four more both of them reeled in their lines and asked me to help them tie on drop shot rigs. I couldn’t help but laugh. I was more than happy to take the time and teach them how to tie this rig on. It does take a little practice, but the rewards can be big.

It wasn’t that many years ago when, I too, was made a fool by the infamous drop shot setup. Only I was fishing a tournament and refused to listen to my amateur partner about what was working well for him in practice.

I did, however, listen to him after he bagged a limit on day one of the competition – even before I caught a single fish. That was a major serving of humble pie I had to swallow.

After I had the rig tied on to the boys’ rods, they eagerly jumped up and started probing the depths for more takers. It wasn’t long and my son’s friend caught one.

No, it wasn’t the giant largemouth he was dreaming about, but it was a mighty fat bluegill.

I told him it was a big moment, he had just caught his first fish on a drop shot rig and was well on his way to out-fishing his other buddies.

It’s so much fun to see others succeed when you have helped them out. Someday, I’m sure, these young men will pass on what they learned to their sons or daughters.

I hope I’m there to see it.

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