A RodnReel.com Featured Article
"Frank and the Kids Catchin' Gafftops at the Rocks"
by: Frank Davis
It's not that long a trip from Breton Sound Marina to the Short Rocks at the end of the Ship Channel. And that's about as far as you have to go to find a spot where “kids” can catch a mess of fish.Frank Davis, Captain Redbone, and Captain Ahab took a couple of future fishermen—a girl 11 and a boy 12--out today, and when it was all over the three pros aboard had created two, brand new, totally addicted fishing buddies.
“If it’s a young fishing buddy you’re looking for,” Capt. Ron “Ahab” Broadus explained in detail, “you’re going to have to be extremely patient, laid back, and exceptionally tolerant. That’s because you’re asking kids to do something that at this point in their little lives is quite foreign. It’s going to take training, and coaching, and meticulous direction. And don’t you dare think we’re talking only about boys here. . .little girls are usually more addicted to the sport, have the patience required to pull it off without a flaw, and generally out-fish their male counterparts! I don’t know why—it’s just the way it works!”
“But you can’t talk about breaking in kids as fishing partners if during the learning period you don’t avoid all the don’ts,” Capt. Rob “Redbone” Martin interrupted. “And there’s a big list of them, too, like not criticizing them when they don’t perform to your satisfaction, and like not yelling at them when they flub something up, and like not pushing them off to the back of the boat with no instruction and direction when they just can’t seem to get the hang of it yet. It’s all those don’ts, committed by adults with the wrong mind-set, which usually scuttle a youngster’s desire to learn to fish! If you want to make sure your kid absolutely never wants to go on another fishing trip with you ever. . .pawn off some of your crappiest old tackle to him (if it didn't work for you, why would you expect it to work for him?), then leave him to his own devices so that frustration sets in, followed closely by complete boredom. Oh yeah, and always avoid any conversation with the young angler on your boat—I’m telling you, he lives for that!”
“And here’s another thing,” Capt. Ahab chimed in. “Keep in mind that to a kid, the smallest little ol’ baitfish is akin to an international record. Kids don’t refer to the State Fish Records when they get out there. They’re there just to catch themselves a few good ones and to have a great time!
“Wanna know how to know if you’re doing it right? Ask yourself if you’re fishing with the child. . .or is the child fishing with you. For your involvement to be successful, the approach should be the former. The kid is the central focus—you’re a secondary insignificant. And Lord forbid that you ever come on as a competitor to a kid—that’s grounds for an instant ‘F’ on your performance.”
I went out on a limb and asked the two youngsters who were with us on the boat today—Royce and April—what they liked most about the trip. Being on TV? Getting out of school? Using really professional fishing gear? Catch hard-pulling, tacklebusting sail cats for the first time? What?
Their answer, in unison, came back. . .the fun. It was just fun!
“And that’s my point,” Redbone interjected. “If you can make it fun for kids, if you will devote all your attention to them, if you can keep them comfortable and set them at ease, if you can subtly teach them something they didn’t know before, if you can take all the hitches out of catching a fish, if you can make them forget about school and stuff—even if just for a couple of hours—you’ve done a great job as a fishing instructor. And when it’s all over, if they leave you with the question ‘Can I go with you the next time, Capt. Rob?,’ and if they tell you they can’t wait to tell all their friends what neat stuff they learned on the trip and what a really cool fisherman you are. . . then there’s an awfully good chance that you just got yourself a new fishing buddy for life!”
Now, if you would like to get your kids out on a fishing trip with a couple of pros who will virtually guarantee them a fabulous day of open- water “catching,” then feel free to contact Capt. Redbone at 504-319-4446. But don’t you dare tell your kids to ask Capt. Redbone to take them to some of Frank’s Secret Spots!
Till next week, then, tight lines and good times to you. And be safe and courteous out there.
P.S. For the record. . .live shrimp 18 inches under a popping cork is the ticket once again this weekend. But I will tell you that if you fish with a Speculizer and sweeten up the barb with a touch of market bait, you'll catch all the gafftops you need to come up with a great courtbouillion. Best action is under a popping cork about 18 inches deep.
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