“Train up a child in the way he should go….”
I suppose when Bob from Ohio began teaching his sons how to fly fish he hoped that in adulthood they would “not depart from it.” Having spent a day on the upper Muskegon hosting two of his sons and son-in-law and witnessing their laying cast after cast tight to structure without hanging up and appreciating the manner in which they managed line and worked their poppers and streamers, I thought of dad Bob and how proud and pleased he must be with the boys’ love of fly fishing. Here, in the midst of salmon season, the five men wanted to fish smallmouth bass and trout, and Captain Don and I were more than happy to oblige. And what a great day it proved to be with Mike, Todd, and Bret. The guys’ fly fishing skills, their ribbing of one another (and their guide), and the bond they share as family combined to make the day truly special. I can’t recall when I’ve had such a good time when the fishing was so lamentable.
On a day when all the planets aligned for perfect fall smallie fishing: no wind, sunshine, good water flow and clarity, the bass simply went on strike. Those that chose to take were few in number and small. Were it not for the fact that the guys are experienced and know great water when they see it, they would surely have concluded that the storied smallmouth fishing of the Muskegon River was, in fact, a myth. But they saw it—the boulders, the woody debris, the water quality—so they knew and graciously accepted the day for what it was: fabulous atmospherics and scenery with a bad bite. Fortunately, the guys will work other sections of the river for next two days so here’s hoping the fish turn on and the legacy dad Bob has given his guys pays off with fish in the net.