Bramwell: Take a Kid Fishing

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Most folks start their children fishing with brightly colored Mickey Mouse or Barbie spin-cast outfits, eventually progressing to a Zebco 33 on a cheap rod with little sensitivity. What kids or beginning anglers of any age want is to catch fish and lots of them.

If you are proficient with spinning gear, you can teach almost anyone how to use one in about 20-minutes. This idea occurred to me Sunday evening.

I took 15-year old Adalia Goettman fishing at a local pond. She had not used spinning gear before and asked, “Will you teach me?” The same was true when my brother Roger visited from the Ukraine a month ago. He had not fished in over 20 years.

You cannot teach someone and fish yourself. Put down your rig and give them your full attention.

I first teach a newbie how to hold the rod and collect the line with the right index finger. It is more like exerting pressure against the line to keep it from coming off the spool after the bail is opened. Most beginners want to catch the line at the first joint of their finger and trap it.

We were using a weighted bobber above a Muey jig tipped with a wax worm. I instructed Addy to cast side arm or over-handed in one fluid motion. If you draw back and stop, the line will wrap around the rod.

Her cast were short and herky-jerky at first. I had to remind her to drop her index finger on the top edge of the spool at the end of every cast. This will usually keep a loop from forming on the spool-the number one reason some people don’t like these rigs. Follow through is important for a long, accurate cast.

Once Addy noticed a loop on her reel. Instead of casting again and creating a bird’s nest, I loosened the drag and pulled the line straight off the side of the spool until I cleared the loop. Then, I held the line between my right finger and thumb while reeling with the left hand to make sure all that dangling line went tight back onto the reel.

Almost every spinning reel has a lever that keeps the user from reeling backwards. A beginner will inevitably reel backwards. Make sure they flip lever to lock before they begin reeling. Out of habit, I do so after each cast. I get a better hook-set with the reel locked so that the handle does not slip and spin in reverse. Release the anti-reverse when ready to cast again. This will allow you to line up the line with your finger.

The fish were not biting, and it was very hot. We opted to go for ice cream and return with the sun on the horizon.

Once Addy mastered the cast and follow-through, she had to get down setting the hook. Call it beginner’s luck or a different colored jig, but this young lady began catching five fish to my one. It was a little after 9 pm when we quit.

At one-point Addy said, “This is easier and a lot more fun than fishing a spin-cast.”

Rick Bramwell
Rick L. Bramwell is 74 years old and began writing for the Anderson Herald Bulletin in 1972. He likes to hunt small game, deer, turkey and morel mushrooms. Bramwell’s 174-7/8 typical whitetail is the largest ever taken in Madison County. He used to compete in Red Man and BASS Federation tournaments, but is now content to fish ponds and small lakes for bass and panfish. For most of 43 years Bramwell has coached Baseball and softball. He has three grown children and resides in Madison County, near Pendleton.

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