I was successful at guiding my hero for the day onto some fish at a recent Central VA HOW event and he caught one.......
However, the last two years has been a frustrating time for me in the freshwater locations when accompanied by a hero. As a volunteer at these events, you are regarded by the heroes as an "expert" in how to catch fish at that given location on any given day. For me, Sandy River and Bear Creek have always produced fish, but when I have located the fish in the past for our heroes, their hook up ratio is not as successful as I normally experience.
Sure, you could rationalize some of the factors beyond their control like: lack of experience with the given body of water; reading the water and knowing where the bite will come; the higher end equipment and line choices I use, etc., etc.. It still doesn't cure that ill feeling I get after an event where I was able to land fish and my hero was not.
It was a relief to finally be successful for a change and lead my hero down the path to success. It was also very humbling to hear my hero emit the words to his grandson, "You see, I told you he was good. He knew exactly where that fish was and what would work to catch him."
Now, we're taught by our elders at an early age to not be boastful or even envious of others and their successes. But for this day, I was truly envious of my hero's success in a way, and I will be boastful for him for he has been long overdue for success on this lake. Words aren't enough to try and convey the overwhelming sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that welled up inside of me. Next to the unconditional love of a child or spouse, I would contend that a relative stranger prior to these outings placing complete trust in your ability to lead them to fish is a very fulfilling feeling.
My only hope is that I can lead him yet again at a future outing and help him have continued success and cement that belief in me both as a person and as an angler.........
Until next time, be safe, tight lines and thank a service member for everything they have freely given for your freedoms.