Taking out kids, parents and/or grandparents on a special fishing trip is one of my favorite things to do. The motive behind these generational excursions usually has something to do with getting a big fish, having fun, creating lasting memories and spending time with family and good friends. I love being a part of it!
This story starts with a phone call from Grandpa Darryl Zuber to set up a striper trip with him, his 16-year-old grandson Tyler Zuber and Tyler’s 14-year-old friend Nick Stubblefield. Darryl told me these two kids were avid anglers. He had a trick up his sleeve: The boys wouldn’t know where they were going until they got to the lake and saw my boat.
They stumbled onto the dock a little past 6 a.m. suddenly realizing they were going striper fishing on San Luis Reservoir. Both boys had caught nice bass, but neither had caught a striper. They were ready for the battle. I hoped we would do well for theirs and Grandpa’s sake. He wanted to fuel that same lifelong passion he had felt growing up.
We began the trip with a fast class on what to do fighting a big striper. I also told them we were going to have to fish long and hard for a chance at a big one; not making that commitment is why most never catch the trophy they want.
We began by trolling a point where the pole popped and Tyler landed/released a nice 22-inch fish, but the bite was otherwise lethargic. I told them, “Guys, this is probably good because when the bite is slow, it seems we get bigger fish.” They bought in.
We stopped at another spot and Nick got a good hit and a powerful fish took off that went around 9 pounds and 29 inches. I showed them how to release it safely and properly.
They already had a fish bigger than most anglers usually catch. Grandpa was happy as a clam that the boys were excited. This one nice fish alone made it a good day.
An hour later, We were trolling by the dam when I saw a pole jerk. Tyler grabbed it as the drag started screaming. He did exactly what I had taught them as the fish kept making runs coming in, then screaming away again. Tyler was holding his ground. This was a hog, 38 inches and 22 pounds. We took a few pictures and then put it on the Seaqualizer release device to let it go.
It was an epic trip, but on a lot more levels than it might seem on the surface. The shared trip with his grandpa will be there forever, both boys graduated to a new level of angling confidence, new lessons had been learned, a bigger vision had been planted, a lifelong passion had been supercharged – and a big fish had been landed. An unforgettable experience. Grandpa had envisioned it all from the start … grandpas do that!
Never give up!