Where will the Kevin Van Dams of the future come from? What about the future prospects for the sport of fishing as a vibrant pastime for those of us who just enjoy being in the outdoors. The future lies with our youth.
Jim Frits tells a story about his 6-year-old grandson, Bryce, of Prairie Grove. Jim took Bryce fishing for the first time and they tried the Hollows.
“We took some wax worms to go catch some panfish using an old Zebco 202 that didn’t want to retrieve properly due to gummed up works from years of hanging on a nail in the garage,” Jim said. “We rigged up a bobber and after a couple seconds, a small bluegill pulled the bobber under and Bryce attempted to reel it in, but the reel would not wind the line.
“Suddenly the bobber took off and the line zipped off the reel. Bryce managed to stop the line from zipping out, but it still could not be retrieved. I told him to keep backing up the bank and it was then we saw that a large bass had eaten the bluegill. Bryce backed up until the bass was beached. We did not intend to keep any fish, so the bass was returned to the water. We had no scale, but I had a small tape measure I carry with me and the bass was just slightly over 17 inches, as best we could measure as Bryce did not want to touch it and it was flopping around a lot. Of course Bryce expected to catch more large bass, as it was so easy the first time.
“Bryce is named after his great grandfather, Bryce Frits, who holds the IGFA record for landlocked striped bass on 4-pound test line. That fish hangs in my man cave along with the IGFA certificate. It gives us something to aim for in the future, but the Zebco 202 will likely not be used, even if it is Bryce’s lucky rod.”
“An amazing fisherman,” is what Carlos Alvarado of Crystal Lake calls his 8-year-old son, Carter. Photographic evidence certainly backs that statement up. “He has been fishing with me and his grandfather from when he was in diapers.”
The family hits, Delevan (Wis.), Geneva (Wis.), Crystal and other spots to the north. The boy is almost impossible to get off the water. How many 8-year-olds have mastered using a baitcasting reel? Most kids that age are just graduating from a Mickey Mouse pole.
When he was younger, Carter’s bedtime storybook was a compilation of stories from decades ago, a journal filled with stories about fishing.
“I love fishing,” Carter said. “You get to go new places and try new things. You learn a lot. It is really a lot of fun. Northern pike are my favorites because they put up a big fight and put on their full effort when they get near the boat. The best fish I ever caught was a 32-inch northern. Me and my dad were on a Jon boat and my dad had to hold my legs to stop me from going over the side.”
Two youngsters. One a newcomer, one a seasoned vetertan at an early age. Two great fish stories. The future of fishingis looking brighter.