roster tail spinnerBy Keith A. Hamblin

Have you ever known a fisherman that didn’t have a secret weapon? You know, that beat, battered, bent, bruised and otherwise abused spinner or fly rattling around in the tackle box that somehow never fails to catch a fish?

Well, I have just such a weapon, at one time it was a white Rooster Tail. Now it looks distorted and dirty, but it will still catch a trout on just about any trout water in the state.

However, I haven’t dared use my secret weapon for almost two years now. Not since my now four-year-old son first learned some of the finer shortcomings of the modern-day trout fisherman. That‘s one rumor drawback with using secret weapons; they can often turn an otherwise pleasant family trip into a family brawl.

It was Memorial Day weekend and I had decided to take my family on a week-long fishing trip, Actually, I had planned to go alone but when I got to my camping spot my wife and three kids came strutting out of the camper as if they were supposed to be there, I, of course, just smiled and pretended like I was glad they came.

Things went pretty well for about the first five or six minutes  . . until we started fishing. We spotted a small school of rainbow and albino trout lounging under a bridge. I think they were watching football or something because I had the distinct impression that they thought us very rude [or having disturbed them.

My then two-year-old son wasn’t too upset when I rushed past him, nearly knocking him down, to beat him to a very nice, strategic position just below the bridge. In fact, I think he was almost smiling as he rolled his eyes at me and grabbed my wife’s pantleg to escort her across the bridge.

He watched calmly as she baited his hook. Then, just as casual as sunshine, he gently set that worm fight in the middle ofthose fish, I looked up from tying on my third experimental spinner to see that those crazy fish were eyeing that worm as if it had something to offer that my first two spinners did not.

I knew I had to act fast as I couldn‘t let my two-yea)“ old son catch the first fish! So with all the speed and finesse I could muster, I clipped the third experimental spinner from my leader and, like the gunfightersof old, drew out my trusty secret weapon ... the infamous WHITE ROOSTER TAIL.

Of course, the fact that two of my fingers were stuck together by the hooks of my third experimental spinner didn't help my speed much, but I soon had it on anyway.

Now I was ready to win! My heart pounded and knees shook in the heat of the competition. I glanced at my son, who was giving me a dirty look, having guessed I‘d drawn my secret weapon. I let the thing fly right over the top of those fish It landed delicately upstream and I began a hasty retrieve, Sure enough, two of them followed it curiously right to shore. I guess they’d never seen a secret weapon water skiing before.

Carefully, I cast again and began a slower retrieve. At least my spinner was in the water instead of on top ofit. The next thing I knew, all blinkety-blank broke loose. My tender two—year»oldthrew down his pole, stomped his feet and cursed me in no less than three different languages — just because I’d caught the first fish.

I’m not sure, but I guess he was all in a tissy just because the fish that had been drooling over his worm got upset and attacked the secret weapon for disturbing his lunch. Heck, I was so surprised that my two-yearvoldeven knew how to curse in three languages that I almost dropped my pole. He’s i'ast learning the competitive nature or this sport.

Anyway, my family is planning another trip this spring. My youngest son has promised that if I keep his bed made and tuck him in every night he‘ll consider letting me tag along. I hope he'll let me sleep INSIDE the camper this time. I think I’ll play it safe and leave the secret weapon home.