These days I get quite a few Father and Son bookings. I really enjoy watching the dynamic . Its often feels an honour to be part of something so precious . In most case these guys don’t get to fish together too often , its a special time. One question people ask me on an almost daily basis is ‘`does my son fish ‘ I explain that I was guilty a year or 2 ago of being a somewhat over enthusiastic parent with the Surfing . I wanted the next Kelly Slater for a son . My enthusiasm backfired and as it stands Oli despite having great balance and a natural surfing stance has not got the surfing bug , quite the opposite possibly ? Lessons were learned and I have been so careful to avoid any form of pressure with fishing . I dream that one day Oliver and I can share a skiff in Cuba or the florida Keys and fish for the Giant Tarpon .
So today we went Perch fishing . I planted a tiny seed in his mind and then let it germinate. He was now dead keen to catch a few Perch on the small lure rod that I gave him months ago and dully placed in his bedroom !! (Im not pushy , honest !!) So there we were , father and son , doing the fishing thing together . It was a real joy to watch his natural flair and ability. The guy has the X factor, he’s not too patient and not too impatient either , his casting was better within 1/2 and hour than some middle aged guys who turn up to fish on my boat at times . It funny . I often ask people I fish with the same question . That being ” Did you fish when you were a child?” Honestly I don’t know why I ask it. I ask the same question in the hope that one day i will get it wrong. I ALWAYS know if a guy I fish with fished as a child. Late starters are generally clumsy and don’t seem to connect . Its the simple things that we take for granted that phase them .
Back to the story , so there we are fishing away . Oliver has not landed a Perch as yet despite almost continuous attacks on our 3 inch D fin shad . My smallest jig hooks were still way too big for these little green thugs . After so many loses I had a quick cast . I landed a fish . I also switched from straight retrieves to a somewhat more jiggy bottom bouncing kind of style. Once I had the fish plucking away I straight retrieved as one fish dropped off the next would hook up. I cracked what the fish wanted and then had my son doing just the same . He watched he learned, we un picked the threads together as a team . The next couple of hours were just so special , so relaxed ,, so perfect !
When Oliver was struggling to hook a fish I felt helpless , frustrated watching him struggle . I was there for my son , not to catch a few 4 inch Perch . I had to catch 3 fish before I knew what we needed to do . Well the same thing happens on Zen2 at times . There are times when I need to pick up a rod myself and have a feel of the water . Get a feeling for how the lures are working in the tide , how long a Fiiish Minnow takes to get down into the zone , What kind of retrieve the fish are responding too today etc etc . Its all about feel . If I don’t know what the fish want how the hell am I supposed to convey this too a client ? When the fish are throwing themselves at us I can sit back relax and just land and photograph fish all day . Somedays its all hands to the pump. So when someone who has been Bass lure guiding for less than 3 months starts telling the world how wrong it is for a guide to pick up the rod at an appropriate moment it just makes me laugh . My son was 9 years old this spring. I seem to remember greeting a baby boy back at home after my first ever days guiding ! Have you ever fished for 8 hours with someone looking over your shoulder constantly ? I have , all over the world . They often look bored senseless and bring an element of pressure to the situation .
We did try for a Bass on the way back home , alas no Joy .I guess perfection has its limitations