WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Local waters await the next generation

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Local waters await the next generation

Another early opening of the trout season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, surprisingly, I have not seen many trout fishermen.

Was it the mystique of an opening day that drew so many trout fishermen to the water or has the pandemic kept them off the water?

Here in Connecticut, I believe you will see a move to do away with opening day in the future, and while it will be missed by some, including your old outdoor writer, like all things in this day and age, change is imminent.

One of the most troubling changes I have noticed this past year is the lack of kids fishing. Most of the adults I have seen are by themselves or with another adult, but very few adults with kids. What a shame.

Years ago, kids and fishing went together like warm apple pie and ice cream. What happened? Where did we go wrong?

Personally, I think way too much hype has been put on specialty fishing for a certain species of fish. When I was a kid many, many moons ago, just about all the kids I knew fished and it didn’t matter what kind of fish we caught. It was just the fun and excitement of catching them.

To get a youngster started fishing is one of the easiest things to do if done right. They don’t need fishing tackle that breaks the bank and any body of water that has some panfish like bluegills, sunfish and yellow perch will do to get a young angler started.

As kids, sunfish were our No. 1 quarry and it did not matter how big they were. It was catching them that provided the thrills and fun.

Some garden worms or nightcrawlers for bait and we were all set. Our fishing gear ranged from one of Dad’s old castoff fishing rods to a sapling with some fishing line attached to the end — even bamboo poles. I still have some splendid memories of using a bamboo pole while fishing at Morin’s Grove in South Meriden.

Morin’s Grove was a popular picnic spot at the end of Melville Avenue, where the A.O.H Club is now located. Back then, it had a pond that doubled as a swimming hole and a place to catch sunfish or some of the huge goldfish that inhabited its waters.

To get our bait for fishing, we would go back into the wooded area where there was a spring and dig for worms. That was part of the adventure of fishing.

Even today worms are a very popular bait for all kinds of fishing. Over the years, I have caught largemouth bass, walleyes, trout, calico bass, sunfish, catfish, bullheads, yellow perch, suckers and carp using nothing more than a worm on my hook.

As kids, we fished the pond at Morin’s Grove quite often, and the sunfish and bullheads provided us with enough excitement to keep coming back.

As I said earlier, our tackle was inexpensive and my bamboo fishing rod served the purpose. No, it did not have a reel. The line was wrapped around the end of the pole and “casting” it out into the pond at Morin’s Grove was something to behold. 

First, you had to make sure there were no overhead braches to interfere with you cast. Next, you laid the line out on the ground behind you, putting as much line out as you wanted for distance. Then you cast the line by lifting the bamboo rod up and then whipping it down, launching hook and bait out into the water. 

Today, with a trip to the Fishin’ Factory in Southington, you can outfit a young angler with a decent fishing rig for a decent price. 

I hear about parents worrying about getting their kids into some type of activity for the coming summer. I suggest getting them into fishing. As a matter of fact, the parents should take up fishing if they already haven’t. It is a good way to spend some quality time with your kids and it will get you both into the great outdoors.

I have thanked both our Mom and Dad many times over for teaching me and my brothers Pete, Dave and Paul how to fish in both fresh and saltwater.

When you take a kid fishing, go for something easy like sunfish, using worms and a bobber, in some easy access place like our own Mirror Lake in Hubbard Park. The fish are there. The CT DEEP Inland Fisheries has stocked the lake with both trout and catfish, and the lake also holds plenty of sunfish.

The only thing missing is someone to fish for them like a parent with their kids.

Fishing derby

After much consideration, it looks like the annual Carl D’Addario Children’s Fishing Derby sponsored by the City of Meriden Parks and Recreation and run by volunteers from the Meriden Rod & Gun Club will be held this year on Saturday, May 8 at Mirror Lake. 

Appropriate COVID-19 protocol will be used. I will have more on that next week.

Get a kid hooked on fishing, not drugs. See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving this great country of ours.

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