Nothing says “go outside and play” like the Fourth of July holiday. When said holiday falls on a weekend…well, exposure to sun, dirt and non-chlorinated water is almost mandatory — which is how we found ourselves up at Big Bear Lake last weekend with 100,000 or so other patriotic Americans.
Generally speaking, my wife and I avoid weekend crowds at the lake as much as possible, preferring to head up the hill late Sunday while everyone else is heading back down to do the Monday through Friday, nine to five grind. Now, don’t get me wrong, we put in some 40+ hours most weeks too. We also just happen to own the business, so we get to set the schedule and part of that schedule includes occasional Monday mornings on uncrowded mountain waters with a fly rod in one hand and a full thermos of freshly brewed java in the other– hate the game, not the player.
Anyway, this weekend, the pleading eyes and sweet smile of our god-daughter worked their magic and we threw our convictions out the window long enough to wind up in the miles long queue of SUV’s headed to higher elevations.
Though she is only six, Our Little Organizer already had a full agenda of activities lined up for us which, much to my delight, included having Uncle Dan show her how to fish. That little fact alone confirmed my suspicions about just how special that kid really is.
So, with the knowledge that I would be passing down hard-earned and sacred information to my little gem, I kept a weather eye out for the opportune moment as we jostled around the village and shoreline.
Finally, about an hour before sunset I noticed a general migration away from the lake by a very ragged and slightly reddened horde of tourists and fisher-folk. Seizing the moment, I fairly shouted, “let’s go fishin’”.
Ten minutes later we were down at the water watching carp pretend they were trout as they leapt after skimming insects against a rose colored sky.
The slap of their bodies against the surface was loud enough and random enough to keep the novice fisher-girl excited and interested while I rigged her pole with a baited hook.
Big mistake. For the record, six-year olds don’t want to wait for something to take bait. After 5,724 queries as to whether she could reel it in I decided we needed to teach her the fine art of casting.
I rigged a floating Rapala on a spinning rod and had her stand next to me, “Finger pulls the line tight, open the bail, cast and close the bail”
“I know Uncle Dan, Let me try.”
Three fouls and a hit.
The rest is, as they say history.
Now, unless you’ve been there, your gonna have to trust me on this but when you watch a disciple transform the knowledge you’ve so carefully imparted into actual practice — it’s magic.
It did not matter one lick that the only thing we caught in the next half hour was an honest-to-goodness Frisbee, she was hooked.
As the sun slipped behind the Western peaks, I knew that on the anniversary of our nation’s birth, a sports-woman had been born.
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