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A couple of weeks ago I was walking the Q-Gorge Trail with Edna and the “kids” (our two pups, Abby and Charlie) and was on my way back to the car when I happened upon a young fisherman headed up the trail to do some fishing.
Well, you just know I had to ask him how the fishing was and he said, “Great, I’ve caught some nice trout and I caught a bass that was around three pounds or more!”
He told me the bass came out of Hanover Pond and the trout out of the pond and river. It made me extremely happy to see that this young man was spending his time fishing instead of being engrossed in some kind of electric gadget.
I didn’t think about our chance meeting on the trail until about a week later when I ran into him again and he was walking down Cutlery Avenue with his fishing gear on one of those heat wave days. I again stopped and asked him how the fishing was and he said that it was alright but the heat wasn’t helping.
Since he was walking I asked him where he lived and I could not believe my ears when he said he lived up in Meriden by the former Meriden Record-Journal building that is now torn down. I was amazed that this young fellow would walk such a great distance to fish in my beloved Hanover Pond and Q-River.
His name is Ed Crampton and to me he is the kind of young fisherman that will always be beneficial to the sport of fishing. Hey, anybody that will hike three miles or more to fish Hanover Pond and the Quinnipiac River is my kind of fisherman.
Generally Edna and I take the pups for a walk in the evening and then ride up to Hubbard Park and some of the back roads to look for wildlife (NOT the Canada geese at the park) and then down to the boat launch at Hanover Pond. Lately I have been seeing some boats out on the pond and the other evening I caught a fellow just getting ready to go out on Hanover Pond fishing. I asked him if he was after largemouth bass and his face lit up.
He replied, “Yes, and there are some nice bass in the pond to catch.” I had to agree with him having had one break my line one day, and having seen the photo of a ten-pounder, caught be my old buddy, local Bass Pro, Jonathon Dingle.
I often wonder if all of this hoopla over these fishing tournaments and some of the fishing videos that are now being shown on some channels have anything to do with kids checking their phones for calls and texting rather than giving fishing a try. Many of them think that you have to have a boat to experience some good fishing, but Ed Crampton seems to be doing pretty good just fishing from the shore.
Fishing for young kids is supposed to be fun and sometimes these fishing videos send the wrong idea that you have to be catching record sized fish to be able to enjoy fishing. Maybe for the oldsters, but not for kids, believe me I found out the hard way when our kids were younger.
I took the kids up to the trout pond at the Meriden Rod & Gun Club figuring I would give them some ‘quality’ fishing for trout instead of some undersized sunfish. The kids began wandering around the pond and before long I saw then laying on their bellies on the wall and they were holding a piece of monofilament that they took out of one of the trash barrels.
They had also found a discarded hook in the trash barrel and had put a worm that they found under a rock and were ‘fishing’ with their find. They were hooking small sunfish and to listen to them you would think that they had a record fish on their line. But the small sunfish were giving them plenty of action and that is what it takes to get youngsters interested in fishing.
The other day I stopped at Mirror Lake and there were a couple of parents watching their young child fish. She was casting a lure (just like you see on television) and not having much luck. I felt like I should have run over to the Fishin’ Factory in Southington and got her some worms to use if she wanted some fishing action but it was too late in the day and the tackle shop was closed.
One of the ‘secret’ ingredients for a successful introductory fishing trip with a kid is worms or nightcrawlers. Generally speaking, you don’t have to cast a line halfway across a body of water to get some action if there are sunfish or other species in the area like bullheads and perch. A float or ‘bobber’ works quite well with a worm on a hook and the kids can see when they get a bite by watching the bobber. The fish the kids catch don’t have to be record setters. Just the fact that they are fishing and having some fishing action will generally do the trick.
Here in Meriden we have Mirror Lake in Hubbard Park and each year the City of Meriden with help from the Meriden Rod & Gun Club hold a fishing derby for area youths and they have a ball. All the fish are judged from the smallest sunfish or perch up into some lunkers that the kids catch every once in a while.
As for getting kids fishing, we should all realize that not all of our kids are into competitive sports like those available here in Meriden, its schools and surrounding towns. Fishing is an excellent outlet for the kids who are not able to participate in Little League and scholastic sports. The joy that some these kids get from the city fishing derby has to be seen to be believed. I say kudos to the Meriden Parks and Recreation and the Meriden Rod & Gun Club for supplying such a venture for area kids. More than one child has exited form these fishing derbies with a new outlook because fishing has become their new sport.
In this busy world we now live in, with all of the new electronic devices available, it is often harder for a parent to stay connected with what is going on with their offspring. Spending some time fishing with the kids is an excellent way to go one on one with them and find out what is going on with them.
A recent survey (2017) by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) found that many Americans are collectively checking their phones more than 8 billion (YES you read that right) times a day. The report also shows that many of them are increasingly disconnecting spending more time fishing and why not? Like I said, fishing is a wonderful way to spend some time with the kids.
Make a picnic/fishing trip. Bring plenty of snacks, and let the kids fish just for the fun of it, using worms and a bobber and landing sunfish and whatever the body of water you want to fish will yield. “Get a kid hooked on fishing, not drugs.” Never has that saying meant more than it does today with all of the drug-overdose mortality making the headlines.
See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be serving to protect the freedoms we all enjoy.