How to fish with a Wild Bunch

Robert L. Ortiz | The Southern Ute Drum

I used to refer to my daughter’s children as the “World’s Cutest and Smartest Grandchildren.” However, I was called to task by other grandparents who thought their grandchildren were the “World’s Cutest and Smartest.” After recently spending five days with my grandchildren, I conceded, they are no longer the “World’s Cutest and Smartest.” They have grown past the cute puppy stage, and are now wild and crazy. So, I have renamed them the Wild Bunch (WB).

When they were here this summer it was my job to take the WB fishing, at our pond, whenever they wanted to go. You can imagine how much I loved that responsibility. However, given that the ages of my WB are two, four, and seven, Grumps (that’s me) had to come up with some guidelines to keep everyone safe while having fun.

If you are going to be on a boat, or on a dock surrounded by deep water, put life jackets on your WB. Once you do this, the first question directed your way will be, “Why aren’t you wearing one?” Telling a WB that you can swim or the water is not over your head won’t work. Your reasoning will now be called into question. Just put a life jacket on — it will make your life easier.

Since my WB is fairly young, putting fly rods in their tiny hands was not an option. I suggest you find three small spinning rods that are the same color and length for your WB to use. That will make life easier as to who gets to use which rod.

Next, remember any type of bait is O.K. to use. I had my WB using worms, red salmon eggs (color is important to youngsters), and woolly buggers. The woolly buggers were suspended beneath red and white plastic strike indicators; it makes casting the fly easier. I found this method yielded as many fish as the worms and salmon eggs. It also put an end to the argument about whose turn it was to tear a worm in half to put on the hook.

Regardless of the ages of a WB, don’t be surprised when one of them says something profound. My seven-year-old informed me that he had caught three species of fish, with his first three fish. They were a trout, a bass, and a perch.

I wasn’t particularly surprised, given that his father is a professional bass fisherman. However, not to be outdone, the two-year-old said he had also caught three kinds, a big one, a little one, and a green one. The reality of children is so refreshing.

Be careful of what you say around a WB. They have storage capacities in their little brains that make computer-builders envious. The last thing you want, in the middle of church, is for one of the bunch to repeat the very inappropriate phrase you made while fishing with them. And, as you deny it, and blame it on someone else, the rest of the bunch will all agree that you, in fact, said it.

Be open-minded enough to know that every member of a WB won’t want to fish all day. One of them might want to swim, another might find a stick to throw for the dog, and the other may choose to dig in the sand. This is how they recharge their interest in fishing. If the entire bunch wants to recharge at the same time, you can take this time to make few casts of your own, or help build that sand castle.

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t ever be outnumbered by a WB. Always have an equal number of adults as the number in a WB. Because, if you don’t, when the WB figures out they have you outnumbered, you’re toast. One will go hide, another will walk way down the beach to fish, and the third one will find his way to the far end of the lake where the dock is located.

All that said, my five days of fishing with my WB, even when I was outnumbered, was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

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