The Writings of LaVarr B Webb
The old man has just about told all of his fishing stories. The little that are left are but moments suspended in the reaches of time. I remember Mammoth Creek on a warm summer day. My girls, in ringlets and dresses, miniature models of their mother, wanted to fish.
I hadn't taken time to teach my girls to fish for a variety of reasons. There were five of them before a boy came into the family, and they seemed to like to do girl things, or perhaps I expected them to do girl things even on a fishing trip. Fishing trips were hard to come by because of family, work, and church responsibilities, and I was somewhat selfish. By the time I baited hooks and took fish off hooks for five girls, there wasn't much time left to do a little fishing myself. Then too, there wasn't sufficient money to buy fishing outfits for five girls, so I had to let them use mine, again decimating my fishing time.
However, we were at Mammoth Creek, and they wanted to fish. I found a nice hole not too far from camp, and the fish, planted rainbows, seemed to want to cooperate. I baited the hook with salmon eggs, handed it to the oldest girl, and showed her how to let the force of the stream carry the hook and bait down into the hole. Before we called it a day, each of those screaming little girls caught three fish In my minds eye, I see them now, doll like, sitting on the bank of Mammoth Creek, learning a little bit about fishing.
A few years ago, my wife and I attended her family reunion up American Fork Canyon. I was setting in camp when a Fish and Game truck pulled to a stop by a bridge that crossed the creek. A man got out of the truck, walked to the center of the bridge, and dumped a net load of fish into the creek. I happened to have my fishing pole in the car, so I asked some of the grandkids if they wanted to try to catch a fish. Of course, with a whoop, they all said, "Yes."
Now, these kids had never had the opportunity to fish. There were at least ten of them, and, again, I only had one pole and no bait. I thought of digging some worms, but my wife found some processed Swiss cheese, and I decided to give it a try. I molded some cheese to the hook, and showed those kids how to cast their line and bait into the pool. Those planted trout liked the cheese, and one by one, each of those grandkids caught one. I showed them how to bring the fish out of the water, and how to take them off the hook.
One little boy, David, about seven, was very intense. He kept the bait in the water, and he was prepared for the strike. When his rainbow hit, he jerked hard on his pole. The fish came up out of the water, and right for his head. When he saw the fish coming, he dropped the pole, and turned and ran. I had to bring him back and show him that the fish wouldn't hurt him.
Now some of those kids have poles of their own, but most of them live in California and Oregon, and their mothers say they try to catch fish in rain puddles and park ponds. I wish they had a Black Canyon in their back yards.