Wisdom is where you find it…
Have you ever tried keeping a dozen Boy Scouts in some semblance of order on a fishing trip? I’ve had the pleasure of living through that experience, numerous times, but the most unforgettable was one that taught me a lesson that still pays off to this day.I was one of the adult leaders on a day trip into one of the numerous small reservoirs, known as “Potholes”, in South Eastern Washington State, and the trip was starting to look more like a stampede than an orderly march.We had parked our vehicles, walked about a quarter mile which was about halfway to the first Pothole, and Scouts were scattered out over one hundred yards of the trail. Some were walking down the trail, a couple others were chasing ground squirrels, and others were gathered around me, wanting to know if we were there yet. By that point in time it felt like I was herding cats through a fish factory.All of us had fishing rods, which we had taken time to rig up before leaving the parking area. Most of the Scouts had on small spinners or lures, hopeful of catching a bass or crappie when we got to the fishing spot, but others had opted for an assortment of feathered jigs, streamers, or even in one case a bare hook. The bare hook guy was crawling up the trail on his hands and knees, swatting at grasshoppers, trying to get some bait to tie on before we got to the Pothole.We were walking along the side of a stream that originated at the outlet of the next Pothole upstream, and it flowed lazily down past the parking area. Actually referring to it as a stream was being pretty generous, since the Scouts were stepping back and forth from one side to the other without having to jump. Trickle would probably be more accurate.Soon we came to a wider spot in the trickle, perhaps twenty feet across, but it looked like it was only a few inches deep. During peak flow it was probably a fairly nice hole in the waterway, because it was formed by the water dumping out of a culvert located about six feet above the surface of the water. Right now though there was a flow of water the size of a pencil coming out of the culvert and dropping into the hole.Myself, and nearly all of the boys had walked past the hole without paying much attention to it. A couple of the boys were not able to suppress the urge to smack the water in the hole with the tips of their rods as they walked past, which had stirred up even more mud and silt. One of the last Scouts to walk past the hole was our bait fisherman, now having successfully caught a grasshopper, which he’d skewered onto his hook. He didn’t even stop at the hole but continued to walk along side of it. As he did he asked how long until we got to a real place to fish, and chunked the hook with the grasshopper on it right into the middle of the muddy water.That big ol’ grasshopper had barely touched the water, when the water exploded, looking like the inside of my Mom’s Maytag during wash cycle. The rod was nearly jerked out of the boy’s hands, and a huge trout did about a dozen somersaults through the air, barely touching the water between each one. After the last jump the trout streaked for the other end of the pool, with the Scout wading into the pond in hot pursuit. When the trout charged back across the pond, coming right at him, the Scout turned around and ran up the bank as fast as he could, pulling the trout right out of the pond. Never once had he even touched the reel handle.Before he, or anyone else, could lay a hand on that beautiful eighteen inch Rainbow, caught in probably six inches of water, there were eleven other boys (and two Scoutmasters) whipping the water into a frenzy we were casting into the pond so fast.Several things were evident right away. One, that the big fish had eaten everything else that had been in the pond, and that had probably been awhile back as hungry as he acted when that grasshopper loomed into view. Second, there wasn’t a single one of those Scouts that was going to listen to logic about no more fish living in that little pond. The third, was that the inexperienced bait fisherman had now been elevated by all of the other Scouts to the rank of Master Fisherman, and the same vote decreed that the Scoutmasters didn’t know anything about fishing because they’d nearly let everyone walk right past probably the best fishing hole in the entire state. All I could say to that was “don’t talk so loud, you keep scaring my grasshopper away just as I’m about to grab it”!Big fish and Mom’s Maytag. Memories don’t get much better than that.Thanks Scout.