As most readers of this column probably know, I have an affinity for getting kids involved in the outdoors. It is especially important in these times, when the allure of electronic entertainment is far greater than the allure of lures.
I firmly believe the best method for treating an electronic addiction is to put a fishing rod in a kid's hand. A fishing rod is the ultimate Xbox detox tool. The reality of a fish fighting at the end of a line, trumps the virtual reality of Space Invaders every time.
Recently, while searching for topic for a Father's Day article, I received an unsolicited email from a source that I didn't recognize. Usually, I simply delete such messages as junk mail.
However, the email was captioned: "Our daughter's big fish." It piqued my curiosity. I opened it and saw pictures of a man hefting a large lake trout and a young lady standing next to him, beaming from ear to ear.
The note read: "I wanted to share this picture of our daughter Caitlin Keysor and her big catch. Caitlin is 15 and loves to go fishing with her dad, Dale. This fish was caught on June 3, 2010. The lake trout was caught in a "Secret" Adirondack lake and was 12 pounds and 29 inches long! She chose her lure, casted, hooked, reeled it to the boat and dad helped her net it and pull it into the boat! She is very proud of her trophy! I hope that you enjoy these pictures!, Lynn Bushey."
Now, I know there are a lot of parents that fish with their kids. And I know that many families have shared some fantastic catches. However, I figured that the photo, which was obviously taken at night, likely had an interesting back-story.
So, I contacted Lynn Bushey. As luck would have it, Lynn, originally from Saranac Lake, was scheduled to be in town for a relative's birthday party over the weekend and agreed to meet with me later that day.
Dale Keyor, a contractor by trade, explained, "We usually try to get out at least once a week. As you can imagine, fishing has become a pretty popular pursuit in our family. And we often come home late."
Lynn agreed. "Caitlin's determination has really got him more into it!"
Caitlin is a special young lady. She has survived a very traumatic car accident at a young age and despite a long process of rehabilitation, she is currently a freshman at Saranac Central School.
When I asked about her fishing adventures, Caitlin explained, "I live fishing! It's awesome. I caught my first fish when we were camping at Buck Pond when I was four years old."
Lynn added, " Ever since then, she'd rather be outdoors than indoors."
When I asked where she caught the big laker, like a veteran angler, Caitlin wouldn't give up the location. She responded simply, "In a secret Adirondack pond."
Her father detailed the event.
"I got home from work and called my buddy, who didn't want to go. So I hooked up the boat and Caitlin made the choice of location. She also chose the lure, and cast it herself. I looked up and her pole was just crippled right over!"
"She hooked into it and fought it for a while before she got it to the boat. I saw it and slipped a net under, and when I hauled it out, the lure popped right out of it's mouth."
"It was awesome", Caitlin chimed in. "I used my favorite lure, and I call it the Scarface lure. He (dad) doesn't have the luck I have."
It's a wonderful story, but even more telling is Caitlin's enthusiasm for the outdoor life. She is a Girl Scout, who loves biking, hiking, snowmobiling and driving a four wheeler and explained that she would "rather be outdoors than anywhere!"
We need more kids like her!
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org