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  • Just another day - By Slabsrus

    Being an avid outdoorsman it is no surprise that my three sons are fond of the outdoors and all the great activities it has to offer. Fishing for bluegills and crappies is definitely one of their favorite outdoor sports, especially for my 12 year old Bryan. He has been fishing by my side since before he could hold a rod and reel and it is quite obvious that he paid very close attention to what was going on. At 12 years old I can count on him to help fill the freezer with fillets any time, and would bet on him any day to match a lot of tournament anglers catch for catch when it comes to pan fish.
    In the summer of 2006 , when he was just 9 years old, Bryans skills as a crappie fisherman would be put to the test. While picking up some snacks at a local store we noticed a flyer advertising a kids crappie tournament on Wixom Lake. It would be open to kids of all ages up to 16. Bryan was immediately interested so we signed him up . Being in the mid range of the age class I figured Bryan would do well but reminded him that no matter how he does it is all for fun and it would give us something to look forward to in the next couple weeks.
    Well the following two weeks passed ever so slowly. Everyday was talk of nothing but crappie. Checking tackle. Checking line. Looking over the lake map. Going over in his head where we had caught crappies on the lake in the past"What time are we going to get to the lake DAD ?"
    "Hey Dad, what should I use for my first lure ?
    "What is the weather going to be like? Are they going to be deep or shallow? Fast or slow???????????????????"

    When tournament day finally arrived Bryan had his plan all set. He would start casting his favorite jig and soft plastic combos under one of the bridges and around the rip rap. Since we do not have a boat, and our kayak was temporarily out of commission, he would have to fish from shore, which is usually just fine except this day would have the wind blowing from the west and making it difficult for him to cast and for the fish to stay close to the east shoreline that Bryan was fishing. After 2 hours of fishing with only 2 small crappies in his basket I asked Bryan if he wanted to try something different for the last few hours of the tournament just to see if he might be able to get into some good slabs. He was more than willing to try anything.
    Just down the road was a small bait shop that also rented boats, which I figured might be just what Bryan would need to get him into some serious fish. Man was he happy, and I was right. Shortly after we anchored in the first bay Bryan picked up a nice 10 inch crappie, but was not getting them as fast as he would like. Somewhere in the midst of his first 20 or 30 casts Bryan figured that it was to windy for his 1/32oz lure to make it to the bottom so he grabbed a 1/8 oz jig and rigged it with his favorite plastic minnow. His new rig no sooner hit the bottom and Bryan lifted his rod tip to set the hook on what would be the first of several nice slabs. A great 12 incher would top off his basket, leaving just enough time to make it to the marina for the 1:00 pm weigh in.
    As we approached the boat ramp and weigh station Bryan noticed that there were about 18 kids waiting, with several of them in the teen ages. I once again reminded him that we had a great time and his 10 crappie were great for a nine year old. When we tied up to the dock one of the other kids hollered to the rest of the crowd, "Hey he has some nice ones!"
    When Bryan lifted his basket to reveal his catch he received immediate congratulations from the other kids as well as the parents.
    And then a barrage of questions about where he caught them, what was he using, live bait or artificial, etc. Although he was only 9 at the time he was as tight lipped as the 30 year veteran when it came to giving up his secrets.
    He asked me what all the fuss was about his fish, as this was just another day of fishing for him. Well as it turned out he was the only kid to catch any crappie so he won the big fish and total weight competition.
    Of course I was the big winner of the day when Bryan gave me a big hug and said thanks for taking me dad.
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