James McBeath 03/07/2013 | Posted in Big Tuna, Canada, Family Zone, Fishing, Internationalisation, JK Junior Fish Squad
Hey all! YoSimitty Sambo here, with my first tail (SP?) for 2013. I’ve been fishing for 4 years now, I’m 9.
This year we’re done all that working around the house crap my Dad, Indiana James, got us into… It’s game on for a summer of fishing fun! Most of my young friends ask me how I got into fishing. So here’s the skinny on how my dad got me hooked. No pun intended (note: I’m WAY too young to know what a pun is).
THE PERFECT FISHING VEHICLE FOR FATHER AND SON: THE BIG TUNA
We should start with the fishing vehicle of choice, in our case a tandem fishing kayak: The Big Tuna Jackson’s tandem (and big solo) fishing kayak. This thing is a comfort and speed machine! We each get a seat that’s high and dry and are about 6 feet apart. Far enough for me to do my crazed casting, but close enough for dear ol dad (and I mean old) to help with those all-too-hooked fish. The Tuna is about 14 feet long, weighs enough for dad to grunt once or twice, but he can get it on the roof easy enough. But in water, we have LOADS of room for both of our gear, rods and snacks. I sit in the front and manage ABSOLUTELY NOTHING while Indiana sits in the back and does all the work. Sweet set up! A few key logistical points surrounding our choice of the Big Tuna:
- It keeps everything at our finger tips – gear, rods, paddles etc. are always secure and within reach
- Dad can help me out – I catch WAY more fish than he does and when I do I simply turn about and hand him my fish to manage. Most hooks I can get out.
- Instruction on where to cast can be done from behind me. Indi tells me where to cast and I let my skills do the rest. We’re far enough from each other to avoid line snags etc, but close enough to chat all day.
- Amazing vantage for dad. Indi can stand, take photos and video of me all day as I slay the fishies.
- Stable – no matter how much I mess around with big fish, never a chance in heck that we’ll be getting wet.
- Fast – 14 feet of tracking means once this boat is up to speed, dad can get me to where the fish are, even in winds as it has an option rudder.
We paddle in all weather and in all seasons. Kokatat has been there for me all the way along. Getting us some great life vests, paddling tops, dry suits, sun tops, hats and more for our adventures this summer. For kids, not much more out there unfortunately, but good to know that a Made in USA company like Kokatat is ready to supply me! My paddle is an old Aquabound Kids Paddle. I use it for both fishing and whitewater (starting to learn).
Bottom line for paddling gear. Keep us kiddies warm! Nothing ends a day of fishing faster than blue lips, shivering jaws and that pitiful look back at daddy, “I’mmmmm cold!”. Check list:
- Keep afloat – a good quality life vest, make sure its approved and your kid is right for the weight range!
- Keep warm – paddling tops are better than simple raincoats, especially combined with undergarments (fleece etc.) Remember to dress to be too hot vs just right. You can always take layers off.
- Keep dry – kids especially at my age get cold fast and nothing, NOTHING shortens a day of fishing faster than a cold wet kid. Blue lips are NOT the ‘in thing’!
My dad has tried some pretty funky things to get me started in fishing. The first thing he tried was to take me out worm fishing for Sunfish. That was CRAP as what kid wants to catch a .000001 lb fish!!?? So he then tried on a Weedless GULP set up so that I wouldn’t catch him in the eye with a hook while I attempt my first casting. Immediately I started catching good sized fish. Going with weedless soft baits like Sebile’s Soft Magic Swimmer, GULP products (love them froggies) that you can use the Texas Rig method or others to ensure that the hook is hidden and protected, yet ready to nail a fish. We rarely use treble hooks as they create both a danger to eyes as kids learn and are sometimes messy to unhook. Indi also breaks the barbs on most set ups – he says it’ll make me a better fisherman! Duh. Already am DAD!
We have Diawa rods for two. I did start out with a Shakespeare Ugly Stick and it rocked too for the price and is one of Pops all time favourite rods! It was good of dear ol dad to spend a bit more on a lighter rod as tossing heavy set ups around can also play a role in kids learning to cast. We are using spinning reels to avoid the mess my dad makes with bait casters. Nothin makes Indiana James use bad words more than a nest of string in a bait caster.
We often use leaders, both those bought in the store and now those Indi makes himself with florocarbon and crimp tools. Much cheaper to make them yourself and the floro is better. In either case, clipping on and off your lures and baits is much easier for dad to manage if he doesn’t have to tie a knot each time 😉
The number one rule for any and all water sport for us here in Indiana Jamesville: Know how to swim. Mom always says to those who don’t get kids into swimming lessons early: “Swimming is the most important life skill you can teach your kid”. Peace of mind kinda thing.
For fishing skills I rely on my dad and the Internet… shhhhh don’t let him know that. I Google everything he tells me. The best way to learn is simply get started. The first year my skills learning tasks were short and sweet:
- Handling hooks – Indi went through a bunch of rules for dealing with hooks, proper storage, avoiding rusty hooks and handling fish at the boat.
- Casting – best rule here, keep it simple. Using a lighter rod and a reel set, and a good one, takes away the frustration of cheap rod issues that slow down learning. Dad had me cast all the time, none of this “here son, let me cast” stuff. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money, again the Ugly Stick combo is the best and lasts forever!
- Where the fish are – Indi lends me all his knowledge on where the fish are at any give season and on any waterway. From learning to cast the weed beds to jigging and trolling, every fish has a lure, every fish has a hiding spot and every fish has a eating habit. Dad spent his first year fishing very little, he simply sat there behind me and litterally pointed to my next cast, talked me through the retrieve process.
- Reeling them in – Keeping the rod tip down on jumps, keeping pressure on the barbless hook, not rushing the retrieve and more now allows me to catch and bring home a fish.
- Handling fish – With the soft weedless bait we still had a big ole hook in a fish. Dad had me take the fish to the side of the boat, I turned a bit and he took the fish off, talking me through it all. Next step was me taking on some of the easier hook ups when the hook was barely in the lip. GO BARBLESS!!! This rule saved our bacon a few times. Struggling to pull a barbed hook through the lips of these monsters is a challenge and a stress on the fish. Barbless is the way to go! I’d also avoid treble hooks if you can. A swallowed treble hook will need dad’s helping hand and a pair of pliers too. Best to avoid till you’re dialled in on the hook retrieve.
Paddling skills were important too! We do all sorts of water, at all times of year and in all conditions, so Indi wanted to make sure that I knew the rules of the water when it comes to paddling. First few rules included:
- Swimming! I needed to make sure I swam well so that, if anything were to happen, I could get back to safety.
- Clothing was second in Dad’s lessons. I needed to be outfitted for the weather and river conditions. One fall into cold water in spring could make for an unsafe day. Too many getting hurt in spring especially!
- Equipment – lifejacket is a must at any conditions. There isn’t a single second on a kayak without a life vest!
- Paddle strokes – first few times out daddy showed me the proper way to hold a paddle, dig in to the water and how to use the paddle to keep the kayak stable. He’s got me in whitewater lessons as well this summer! Indi LOVES it when I paddle well, especially when its windy!
- Self rescue – good to know the things I need to do if I find myself alone on the water.
Thats it for now. Lots to learn, but all easy stuff if you have the right dad and boat 😉
Next up, our Head to Head Indiana vs Yosimity fishing season is ON!!!
‘Keep the paddle deep and the varmits off yer line!