Cermele: Take A Kid (Shark) Fishing

I must say that the holiday weekend fishing was mighty fine. Some hearty bluefin tuna and fat fluke found their way into my cooler. But enough about me. The absolute highlight occurred yesterday when my friend Darren asked if I'd play mate on an inshore trip with a single mission: tie his 7 1/2-year-old son Alex into his first shark. I gladly accepted.

Now, Alex is not your typical kid that only likes the catching part. This little dude knows his stuff. He's not likely to say he's tired or wants to go home, but he will tell you he'd like to see a cedar plug dropped another 30 feet back in the trolling spread or that the chum bag needs to be shaken because the slick is getting thin. It's just unreal.

Alex has been so well trained that prior to this excursion, he spent days practicing. Suited up in a custom-sewn mini belt and harness, he learned how to lean in, bend his knees and drop his butt back into fighting position. Needless to say I was impressed, and when that first line came tight and started zinging, Alex put on his best "Braveheart" battle scowl and beat the pants off his first shark--a 60-pound sandbar--in short order. A finer day could not be had.

I don't have any kids yet, but I can only hope they are as into fishing as Alex. I know they say you can't force it, but one of my biggest fears is that my kids will show no interest in what I love so much. Plus, in 20 years, Darren will be able to sit on board and do absolutely nothing, because Alex will be running the boat, setting lines, rigging baits, and cleaning all fish. That part sounds pretty good, too. - JC