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Teen angler’s patience, persistence rewarded

When it comes to fishing, youthful anglers generally are long on expectation and short on the patience that often is required to catch a fish.

My guess is that most of us have heard someone say, “You can’t catch a fish if you keep reeling in your line!”

If you haven’t had that experience, just go to one of the local urban ponds on a Saturday morning and wait five or 10 minutes. If you have been there and done that, you know what I mean.

Young kids naturally are inquisitive and active. In order to hold their fishing interest, catching usually needs to be part of the equation. If it isn’t, the young anglers-in-training quickly will lose interest and find something else to do.

The same is true for many teenagers, especially those who are relatively new to fishing. They like the excitement and the rush of adrenaline that comes when fish smack their lures or take off with their bait, but they don’t like waiting when fish aren’t biting.

Every once in a while, however, I come across a young angler who demonstrates patience far beyond that exhibited by most adults and eventually is rewarded for his diligence.

Cordon Lee is a 14-year-old Boy Scout from Henderson.

Lee started fishing when he was 10. He has spent many days during the past four years with his fishing rod in hand and his bait in the water, but the fish had refused to take his bait.

“You have to hold your mouth just right,” I once told Lee while on a fishing trip to Lake Mead. He stared at me with a look that said, “I am not amused.”

Through the years I have seen many teen anglers give up when things didn’t go their way, but not Lee. He kept baiting his hook and throwing it out there for the fish to consider. Last week his persistence finally was rewarded while on an ice-fishing excursion with his fellow scouts at Utah’s Panguitch Lake.

While the others became sidetracked with the recreational opportunities provided by the snow, Lee faithfully tended his fishing rod. Then suddenly his line went taut, his rod bowed toward the hole in the ice, and the drought was over. I only can imagine how Lee felt when he finally pulled the fat Panguitch rainbow trout through the ice, a fitting end to his four-year pursuit.

With the jinx gone, Lee went on to catch three more plump rainbows.

I suppose you can say that Lee now is a bona fide angler with a bright future on the water ahead. The patience he has learned from the business end of his fishing rod no doubt will help in other areas of his life.

Other members of Lee’s group found success as well. The group was using rainbow-colored PowerBait fished on a size-18 treble hook. The key was not fishing too deep, maybe 10 to 15 feet deep, said Mitch Stoker, an adult leader for the group. “We also had some bites on salmon eggs combined with a small, green plastic worm,” he added.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com.

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