Go jump in the lake! Or a stream

By Roger Wolfe Outdoors Columnist

Do you remember that annoying kid in grade school that always wanted to be part of whatever it was that you and your friends were doing?

Maybe it was a younger sibling always tagging along, or maybe it was you who always wanted to tag along.

Did you ever get fed up with them and just tell them, to “go jump in the lake”? It was meant as a not so polite way to tell them to leave you alone, but maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all, especially in the summer months as the temperature heats up.

I would be willing to bet that a lot of avid outdoorsmen and women wouldn’t take it so hard if you told them to go jump in the lake or even a nearby stream, as long as we could take our fishing gear.

I can think of a lot of worse ways to spend a hot summer day, than splashing around in the lake. Actually I can’t think of many better ways to spend a day.

Want to make it more fun, take a kid along with you, heck take the whole neighborhood, just make sure to invite the younger siblings that might have already been told to go jump in. It doesn’t have to be a major body of water, freshly stocked with the best game fish for the season.

Actually there are only two requirements. First, it has to be safe, not too deep, swift, or dangerous, for those who are jumping in. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, it has to be wet. If it meets these two conditions, it is almost impossible to not have a little fun.

We don’t always have to be out after the biggest or the most fish. Sometimes it is about getting back to basics, and how much more basic can it get than wading in ankle deep water turning over rocks and catching whatever is under them.

It can be for bait for our next “serious” fishing trip, or just showing the next generation of outdoors kids what is out and about. If you have forgotten how much fun you had playing in the creek as a kid, maybe it is time to take a refresher course.

Remember the wonder you had as you caught your biggest crawdad, or crayfish? Remember how quickly you launched it, or tried to, into the air when you were rudely introduced to how hard they could pinch? Pass that knowledge down.

Also take time to pass down the knowledge that a crawdad is great bait for that big ole lunker largemouth bass. Or that you can, just tear off the tail, bake it in the sun and cast it out into deeper water for that catfish to come by and devour.

Maybe you will happen upon something you don’t recognize. Just Google it! It might just be your new favorite bait. Even if it isn’t, think of the fun you had learning about it, and if you had the neighborhood along with you, think of how much fun they are having.

So the next time someone tells you to go jump in the lake, just smile and say “Well Thank You, I think I will.” After all, it would be quite rude to refuse such a nicely phrased request. Heck, they practically just gave you permission didn’t they? Just remember the rules. Make sure it is safe, and make sure it is wet.

— Roger Wolfe is an Outdoor Columnist for Civitas Media. He can be reached at [email protected]

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