The purpose of the drag

Get your kid a proper angler’s lid.
  • Get your kid a proper angler’s lid.

I spent about three hours at Legg Lake near Whittier, about 12 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. I caught a bluegill at the South Lake. Then moved to the North Lake at another spot. No bites there.

As I walked back toward the parking lot, I saw this man with four kids who were fishing. I said hello and asked if the kids had caught anything. Dad said, “No, not really.” It was just his second time taking the kids fishing, and they didn’t know much.

Setting up lines for lake fishing

Setting up lines for lake fishing

I heard the reel zizzing and zizzing as the oldest kid, Samantha, turned the handle on her reel. Her line wouldn’t reel in. I asked Samantha for her pole and noticed that all three of their poles had big plastic saltwater-type jigs. Samantha’s drag was too loose, which is why her line wouldn’t reel in.

I gathered all four kids around me and explained the purpose of the drag on the reel. I told the dad I could set up their lines for lake fishing. He said, “Seguro que sí.”

We sat at a table where I could re-tie all their lines. Then, instead of walking back to my truck, I walked them to the spot where I caught my fish earlier in the day.

They knew how to cast, which was funny to me.

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Oyé, Daniel, I'm only guessing here but I suspect el padre learned to fish south of the border where most growing up down there use hand lines wound around tin cans. No reels, no rods, no drags, bails, spinners, and definitely nothing with the name Penn on it. They still catch 'em, but they do it old school. Hey, whatever puts the fish in the taco, verdad?

Daniel for Sainthood!!!! I have always said the best thing one can do in life is teach a kid how to fish. The other part that saying is the worse thing one can do is MAKE a kid fish. I've seen too many times kids told to shut up, sit down, and fish when all they really want to do is chuck rocks or ride their bike. Its torture to "make" a kid fish. Teach them all you know, they'll either pick it up or they won't.

Actually, I turned this in as an anecdote written by Armando Gonzalez on FB. Apparently, it got mixed up in production. It was simply submitted by me, but his experience. I liked the story because it reminded me of my Dad on a lot of our trips...and my constant need to be there on the deck for the newbies when I worked the boats. Such a thrill to see a kid connect and Armando exemplifies the kind of guy that, thankfully, still exists to make that possible. All kudos to him!

And, yes, Ken...I saw that a lot of that on the boats from dads that had ego in front of experience. Really, to give your kids the best experience, a parent should 1) expose children to and build excitement for fishing through media (literature, video..etc...what a great new age we are in for that!) 2) Take them to a bite, not just fishing, and 3) Be open to all knowledge that will not only enhance their experience, but will also reward them with an education on how to interact responsibly in nature. Amen.

Yes, Amen, now as we pass the offering plate . . . My dad died when I was 12, and it took years to remember his knowledge about fishing the Sierras. But he gave it to me in many ways. I just had to experience it again. I'm still looking for it when it comes to surf, pier and deep sea. Didn't do that much with him, so its taken half a lifetime to try to figure it out.

My other saying, "Ever hour spent fishing adds an hour to your life."

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