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Making memories for a lifetime

H2O Adventures

Mike Race of Wadhams, a second grader at Westport Central School, shows off the smallmouth bass he caught with Howard Hammonds.

Mike Race of Wadhams, a second grader at Westport Central School, shows off the smallmouth bass he caught with Howard Hammonds.

Knowing Mike had never been on a boat before I took it easy, moving at a very modest 30 mph.

Mike wasn’t having any of that.

“Hammer it!” he yelled.

Now, Mike only weighs 65 pounds soaking wet and I figured anything faster than 50 mph would blow him right out of the boat, so I stayed at 50. The laughing and giggling was endless the whole 5 minutes it took to cross the lake.

Now the real challenge began, Mike had never cast his rod and reel. We took several minutes for some quick lessons on casting an open-faced spinning reel. He was a quick learner.

“Cast to that big rock pile, Mike,” I said. “Let it sink, watch your line, wind up the slack.”

His cast was right on target; suddenly, the line took off.

I’m yelling: “Reel! Reel!” and sure enough Mike winds like crazy holding on for dear life with a big pull on the end of his line. Suddenly the water explodes, with a smallmouth jumping two feet out of the water. Mike’s yelling and winding. He gets that smallmouth to the side of the boat and I go to grab it, but Mike has seen too many bass fishing shows, so he jumps the fish right in the boat just like the pros.

Whooping and hollering for the next few minutes was expected. After a quick lesson on holding a fish, and a few quick pictures, it went back in the water. For the next hour we cruised the bank casting and catching, yes even losing some. And after every fish the same question was asked: “We aren’t going home yet, are we?”

“Nope Mike,” I’d reassure him. “They are still biting.”

All good things do have to come to an end, however, and Mike had homework waiting, so another quick boat ride back to Westport and the rest of the story now lives in his memory for a lifetime!

Howard Hammonds is a guide and experienced bass fisherman living in Westport. He can be reached at hehammonds@gmail.com.

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