Conner Byington was invited along to shoot photos at a popular canoe fishing area with me. Conner is a friend of my nephew Andrew. They were bored on a hot August day and I needed a few casting subjects dressed in appropriate garb with fly rods in hand to capture the unique fishing experience offered in a remote location for a magazine article.
As compensation for their cooperation I promised to take them fishing. After a few minutes of casting instruction I turned the boys loose (with my niece Hanna) and shot photos at various angles and with props.
Suddenly Conner erupted, “I think I’ve got something!”
At 18 years old he had no idea how to reel the fish in or how to take it off the hook. I talked him through the process of landing the fish while snapping photos and then on how to release it.
He followed that up with several more pan fish and was as excited as if he were hooking and landing bone fish in the Caribbean! No matter what it takes to introduce someone to our great fishing heritage, do it. The reward is watching the excitement grow on a new comers face just as it did on ours so many years ago. The fish don’t need to be spectacular, the fishing experience will be enough.
Congratulations Conner; may this be the first of many.