China Lake & the
Red and White Bobber
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It was the summer of 1970 and our Scout troop was headed to China Lake in the Uintas for our annual week-long camping trip. I looked forward to this trip every year, mainly because of the amount of fishing we were able to do.
We would spend our mornings working on merit badges and our afternoons and evenings fishing. And fish we did!
One evening, my buddies and I were fishing at the lake with bubbles and flies. One of my friends had a 2-inch diameter red and white bobber attached to his line with five feet of leader and a black gnat tied on. (As Scouts, we didn't pay too much attention to what our fishing outfits looked like, as long as we caught fish.)
He cast out 50 feet from shore and began to retrieve his line. He got a strike and a fish was on. He reeled the fish half-way in and the line snapped just above the bobber. My buddy cussed and we laughed as we watched that bobber make a pass by us and then disappear into the lake. It was almost dark now and we didn't see the bobber the rest of the evening.
After a night's rest and a big breakfast, we had time to fish before our merit badge classes began.
We had made several casts when that bobber popped up in front of us, just 35 feet from shore! It was a mad scramble to the tackle box to see who could tie on the heaviest, biggest spoon and cast it out into the lake to snag that line.
All of us were casting lures as fast as we could to beat the next guy. Luck was with me that day, for I was the one who snagged the line and, after playing the fish a bit, I reeled it in and landed everything.
I looked at my buddy and he looked at me. Then I remembered the Scout law which says, in part, "a Scout is trustworthy, loyal, etc. So I did what any Scout would do — I gave him his bobber and fly and kept the fish!
By the way, the fish was a beautiful 12-inch rainbow. A nice fish in the eyes of a 14-year-old Scout.