Who knows the thoughts of a child, yet sometimes they can be the greatest truth tellers and teachers.
Living in the large city of Los Angles where at that time was where I needed to be to make a living. Like so many of us we lived for the week-ends so we could get away from the hectic pace that comes with it. The out door type of recreation was more fitting for my family. It was definitely healthier than the LA smog. We chose fishing.
As many know, California has many great fishing area's. Our favorites were the Kern River above Bakersfield and the beautiful Sierra Mountain range. The memories that we will have for the rest of our lives will undoubtedly be about sitting around a campfire and telling stories and of course how big of a fish that was on our line but got away.
The events that I bring forth now, I hope will give you a chuckle or two for they are true family fishing events.
On this fishing trip we were fishing on the Kern River. The Kern river is approximately 164 miles long. It drains an area of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains northeast of Bakersfield. It is fed by snow melt near Mount Whitney, the river passes through scenic canyons in the mountains and is a popular destination for other sports such as rafting and Kayaking.
The river was named by John C. Fremont in honor of Edward M. Kern in the 1830s who as the story goes nearly drowned in the turbulent waters. In the great 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake that was estimated at 7.9 magnitude on the San Andreas Fault was strong enough to temporarily switch the direction of the flow of the Kern River.
The huge boulders and rocks that line its banks make deep pools around their base for the brown and wild rainbow trout to hide and spawn. The river is stocked and there are several excellent camp grounds. Near by there are general stores where you can purchase bait and other supplies that you might need.
I have had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful human beings standing on a river bank with rod and reel in hand. What ever those strangers are away from that atmosphere I don't really know, but they are truly my kind of people when they are pulling in that big rainbow trout.
This is were I taught my children to fish. My youngest was four when she was handed her very own fishing pole. She was very independent from day one and having an older sister and brother to compete with made her choose to be just one little independent---tom-boy. She could hold her own with them and would never back down. Her name is Jody but we just called her JO. You may now, know her as Hubber Ryanobie. It wasn't long before she could cast a line almost as far as they could. She had no qualms about threading a wiggly worm on her hook and often volunteered to bait her sisters hook.
1956 Chev-Station Wagon
Packing up that 1956 Chev-station wagon was just a every week-end ritual. Everyone packed their best cut-off jeans and favorite tee-shirts. I found that the most important job for me was to bring plenty of snacks for going and coming. Of course everyone had their favorites.
I have always been impressed by the fly-fishermen and women that tie their own fly's. I have tried this myself and after hooking my fingers more than succeeding in wrapping the fly correctly, I thought it safer to just stick to my old rod and reel. Still when I stand beside a fly-fisherman on the same bank, I can't help stealing admiring glances at his vest or hat that proudly displays his many hand tied fly's that he can brag about that will catch the big one.
It was one of those great week-end trips that we headed north to the Sierra Mountains. We were going to catch us some golden trout. Sierra Golden's don't grow large because the nutrient-poor waters in which they live provide little food. Although the state record is nearly 10 pounds, most fish run from 8 to 12 inches long and anything over that gives you bragging rights.
There are many lakes to test your skills on. Still, this trip we kept to the streams that fed off of them. After we had set up camp and of course talked to some of the other campers and fishermen they will all tell you the same thing, when you ask them if they caught any trout. "Yep, I caught my limit." I believe that all fishermen should automatically be lifetime members of the Liar's Club.
Our camp was set up right next to the stream and everyone was up early and all promising to bring back their limits for a big fish fry for supper. That was when Jo set up a big fit because she was not allowed to follow her big bother and sister up river. To calm the issue I gave her a can of salmon eggs for bait and her favorite snack---a bag of marshmallows and placed her on a log that reached across the stream that was right next to our camp so if need be I could grab her quickly if she decided to venture off. Being the independent one it seemed a wise thing to do.
It wasn't long when she said "dat fish is getting my bait mom," I was busy watching my own line for you could see the trout in the shallow current and I had felt several nibbles. I just told her to reel in her line and put another salmon egg on her hook. Then I heard her giggling and looked up as she reeled in her trout. This was quickly added to our bucket on the bank for just this purpose.
I was still getting nibbles but had not landed a single trout. Maybe it was because I was kept busy taking the hooks out of the trout that Jo kept catching. Yes, it was not long before Jo had her limit. When she handed me her box of salmon eggs the box was still full and I asked her what she used for bait. "Oh, I shared my marshmallows with them trouts." It was really simple in her mind if she liked marshmallows then their was no reason the trout wouldn't like them too.
That evening trout and potatoes cooked over the campfire never tasted that sweet before---maybe it was that little touch of marshmallow---flavor?
We kept our secret when the fly fisherman came by our camp and admitted that he didn't even get a nibble. Well, we proudly told the truth that we caught our limit.
Every fishing trip after that we all checked the bait box to make sure that there was several bags of marshmallows.