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Mitchell's First River Trip

     My youngest son, Mitchell turned three in March. Since the Easter Egg Hunt got cancelled due to the cold front that had temperatures down in the 30's, Mitchell and I were left sitting around the house with nothing to do. I'll have to admit that actually going fishing was about the farthest thing from my mind on this blustery day, but that didn't stop me from sitting on the couch and watching fishing shows. Obviously impressed with the fish Bill Dance was bringing into the boat, Mitchell asked if we could go fishing.

    If you've never done it before, fishing with a small child can be a pretty frustrating experience. I just knew Mitchell would be ready to come home after about five minutes in the windy cold, so we drove over to the Saluda River in Piedmont just to find a place to dunk some worms. I'll admit to having an ulterior motive: I wanted to check out the river in a few different places to see what it looked like and find some places to drop a boat in the water. While not known as a great destination for numbers of bass, the Saluda produces numerous 10 pound bass every spring and also has a reputation as a great catfish and bream fishery.

    Upon arriving in Piedmont, we grabbed a bite to eat at Clock (which I highly recommend for a burger and fries) and then bought worms and minnows at the only place in town that sells them. A little driving around landed us on a little point of land just above the dam in Piedmont. A couple other guys were fishing there also and not having much luck, but Mitchell was rarin' to go so we set up, baited our hooks, and settled in.


Chowing down at Clock (left), and the only bait store in Piedmont (right)

    After about 15 minutes, Daddy was ready to go home. I tried explaining to Mitchell about cold fronts and how they affect fish behavior but, like his Mom, the kid just wouldn't listen to reason. After thirty minutes, Mitchell was the one telling me to sit down, be still, and quit throwing rocks in the river.

    Then the cork went under, and both the little bluegill and the little boy acquitted themselves quite nicely. The fish took the line into some weeds and then headed out to open water. I was doing the usual "Don'thorsehimKeepyourrodtipupReelhimin!!" thing that Dad's always seem to do, but Mitchell stayed pretty calm and got the fish to the bank. I took him off the hook and let Mitchell throw him back in the river. I couldn't have been prouder if he had scored a touchdown to win the big game.

Luckily for Mitchell, accuracy is way more important than length for a fisherman

    We hung around for another 30 minutes or so, and Mitchell only pouted a little bit when it was time to leave. We scouted a few other spots downstream from Piedmont, and Mitchell insisted on making a few casts (he can't cast a lick yet) at every stop. We didn't get any more bites, but it makes me happy that my youngest son already loves to go fishing at such a young age. I've got a great new fishing buddy who'll go with me whenever I want. At least until he discovers girls.


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