Vishal Mellor shows off a nice fish. Vishal spent a lot of time fishing with his grandfather, George Smith, when he was younger. Credit: Courtesy of George Smith

I always loved fishing with my kids and grandkids. When our granddaughter Ada was 3, she caught her first fish up at our camp at Nesowadnehunk Lake on the edge of Baxter State Park. A little while later, a friend made Ada a 4-foot bamboo fly rod that she loved to cast. She’s 6 now and still loves to fish.

Our son Josh was a young boy when we were fishing in our boat up at camp. Josh, on his side of the boat, was catching lots of fish, while on the other side I caught nothing. Eventually Josh felt sorry for me and suggested he’d caught enough fish and I should take his rod and side of the boat. That was very generous, but I refused, because seeing Josh catch fish was way better than catching them myself.

Our daughter Hilary was 8 or 9 when I took her down Nesowadnehunk Lake in the boat to fish a favorite spot. Hilary was fishing from the front of the boat with the same fly I was using from the back of the boat. She caught nine brook trout while I caught nothing.

Hilary felt bad for me and suggested that we swap places and rods, so we did. And with her first cast with my rod she caught a nice brook trout. I told her, “Hilary, you are already a better angler than your dad!”

At camp one summer, I took my 8-year-old grandson Vishal fishing in a small pool on Nesowadnehunk Stream. We hiked into the stream and I carried V on my back while wading across the stream. Then we hiked quite ways upstream to a good pool.

I would cast the fly and hand V the rod and he would catch and reel in the trout, which I would release. After a while, V said he’d like to cast, so I showed him how to do it and very quickly he was doing a good job of casting. He was catching a lot of trout and eventually he told me he would like to release the fish so I showed him how to do that and he quickly mastered it.

V’s 25th trout was very big, and as he released it into the stream he looked up and said, “Grampy, we’re both very happy.”

Boy, he got that right!

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George Smith, Outdoors contributor

George Smith has spent his life advocating for hunters, anglers, wildlife and conservation. He has been awarded many lifetime achievement awards including from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife...