Tanner and Bass 1

caught this 5 1/2 lb Large Mouth Bass in Private lake in Florence County, SC.

My grandson is a typical eight year old. He’s all about fishing and baseball or baseball and fishing. After asking him one day which he liked better, he thought for a minute and said, “fishing, but baseball is real close.”
This is a fishing story that had I not been there to witness, I would have trouble believing it. Tanner’s last day of 2nd grade was Friday and I had promised to take him fishing the following day. He had made the honor roll and his Mom had agreed to a reward. You would think an eight year old would head straight to the toys, but not Tanner. After a few minutes in the fishing section, they left with his new tackle box stocked with corks, hooks, lead, and a pack of purple plastic worms. Why purple worms, you might ask. Well, he had heard me say many times; “The three best bass lures are purple worms, purple worms and purple worms.”
I finished cutting grass Saturday morning and while waiting on his arrival, I started loading the truck. Two light tackle outfits for bream fishing and my trusty ambassador for bass. Tanner has not quiet mastered the open face reel yet, so up until now our method of operation for bass fishing has been this: I cast, give him the rod and he reels it in. We repeat this over and over until he gets tired. In his short life, he has managed to catch a few bass in the 1-2 pound range. In the back corner of my shop I found and old Zebco 202 with a broken rod that his Grandma had picked up at an antique store for a couple of bucks. I replaced the rod and line and rigged it for one of the purple worms. This would be his bass outfit for today.
Soon we arrived at the private 12 acre lake in Florence County and headed to the small dock. Immediately we started catching bream. After about 30 minutes the bream slacked off so I picked up my ambassador and started casting. No less than 20 cast later and a tired arm, I managed to hook a small ½ pounder and as always, I let Tanner reel him in. This got him wanting to catch more bass and I was ready this time. I gave him the 202, told him to go at it, and reached for the bream rod. That’s when I heard the four words I’ll never forget, “Papa, I got one.” I looked up and his rod was almost bent double. When I saw the bass come out of the water, I knew it was a good size one. “Reel Tanner, don’t give him any slack”, I shouted. In a few minutes, he was holding his prize catch. It would turn out to be 5 1/2 pounds. After a few minutes of dancing and high fives and picture taking I asked him if he was ready to go home and show everybody his “monster bass”. “No Papa, I want to catch another one.” I thought to myself, ok but chances are slim. (O ye of little faith – moment # 1) A fresh purple worm and one cast to the same spot and I heard those four words again, “Papa, I got one” This time the bass didn’t jump, so I had no idea how big it was, but judging from the bent rod, another nice one. He darted under the dock and around the post. “Oh no, we might lose this one,” I mumbled (O ye of little faith – moment #2) No sooner had I gotten the words out of my mouth, the bass untangled itself as if to say, ok pick me up now. It looked like a twin to the first one but only 5 pounds. Another five minutes of dancing and high fives and picture taking. I was sure he would be ready to go home to show everybody. “Ten more minutes, Papa, just ten more minutes. I might catch another one.” Sure, I thought. (O ye of little faith – moment #3) A fresh purple worm and a few more cast, but this time no strikes. In the meantime, I had started catching a few more bream. Eight year olds don’t have a lot of patience you know, so he quickly switched to the cricket and cork. One cast to the spot where he hooked the two bass and the cork disappeared. Again I heard those words, “Papa, I got one.” I was sure it was a bream, but the rod told me otherwise. It was his third bass in less than 15 minutes. Unbelievable! This one 4 pounds and caught on a gold bream hook that was barely stuck in his lower lip. In all of my years, I have never seen or heard of anything like it. We finally packed it up and headed home and as we passed the last tree beside the lake, his comment was “Papa, this is the best day of my life.” This old Papa has had a lot of good days, but it don’t get any better than this.