A son’s first catch leads to a lifetime fish story, and a reminder for his dad

I’ve found that being a know-it-all fisherman can come back to bite you.

I was spotted bass fishing at Millerton with my son David, who at the time was about 5 or 6 years old and still learning to cast. He was excited because he was improving, but you never knew where the lure was going to end up.

I had the boat about 30 feet from the shore and he was casting his little Mepps spinner into the rocky shoreline hoping to catch a little bass. We had fished for about an hour with no strikes, but David kept up the pace.

David had never caught a fish by himself at this point. You know, casting your lure, hooking the fish and then landing it without any help. It is a key rite of passage for a young angler, one I had hoped he might finally cross that trip.

So we were drifting along and David made a heaving cast that sent the lure to the other side of a rock that was about 2½ feet high and close to the water. About 35 feet of line stretched to the top of the jagged rock but the lure was somewhere on the other side.

David turns to me and says, “Dad, I’ve got a fish on!” I tell him that there can’t be a fish on because his lure is probably hooked on shore weeds. He keeps telling me, “No, I know there’s a fish on my. It’s pulling!” I don’t see anything.

“David, can’t you see that your line is just snagged on the other side of — why are you saying you’ve got a fish? You don’t!” He’s starting to tear up as I move the boat around to see where the lure is behind the rock.

There it is — in the mouth of an 8-inch spotted bass jumping about halfway up the rock. I am flabbergasted and embarrassed. The final straw: “Dad, I told you I had a fish on!” I felt so bad that I had doubted David.

How did it happen? Beyond our sight from where David cast was a little bit of lake water that ran up behind the rock. It was no more than two inches deep and a foot long — enough for the hungry little bass to reach the lure when it came flying over the boulder.

No, I’ve never lived it down. But I got a good life lesson.

That was David’s first “all me” fish — and a humbling one for Dad.

Never give up!

Roger George: rogergeorge8@protonmail.com, Rogergeorgeguideservice on Facebook and @StriperWars.