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Women Teaching Women

By: Trish Sharman
April 19, 2000

I just got back from the BOW, Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, workshop. WOW, another great 3 day adventure in getting gals HOOKED on fishing. And once again a 100 percent catch rate!! YAHOO! I have to tell you a great story!

Any way, my first class of gals for "Basic River/Lake Fishing" (this is the on-water part of the 2 classes I teach) met at the small lake located on The Wonder Valley Ranch property in Sanger, Ca. This is the class where these ladies can apply all the skills that they have learned during The "Basic Fishing" class they had been through earlier in the day, or the day before. 99 percent of these ladies have had no or just a childhood memory of a fishing experience, but they are eager to learn! There ages range from 20 to 80!

As they arrive lakeside, I tell them everything is here that you will need. Grab a rod and reel, set it up, then come over to me and I'll show you how to thread a worm. While they looked on with anticipation as to what the heck I was up to, I reached into the box and pulled a worm threader! Not making a big deal about what I was to do next, I opened the container filled with fresh, fat, wiggly, large crawlers.

I plucked out a real nice one and pinched it in half. I tossing the smaller half back in the container and shut it, letting the ladies know what great escape artists these squirmy little guys are, and how they need shade and cool conditions or you're in for a smelly, mushy unusable bait while the fish are jumping all around you at the end of the day and the tackle store is too far away to go get more. With a worm in one hand and threader in the other I took a quick look around me, then I pierced the worm and quickly ran the threader though its body and strait out the other end! There! I said as I held up the finished squired worm. Oh yes, I heard a few whispers of "oh my!" and saw a few of their eyes widen the with looks of "she expects us to do that? I don't think so!"

I laughed calmly and asked whose first? I pulled some line from the ladies rod closest to me inserted the end of the hook into the end of the Threader and while making a silly sound ran that fat crawler right on and up that hook! While a tiny end of the worm twisting around hanging at the bottom of the hook I said PERFECT! That looks great, I would eat it. They all laughed and off she went to put on her bobber.

One by one, the class of 10 ladies cast their lines into the lake and not 5 minutes later, SHRIEKS of FISH-ON! sounded off like echoes around the small lake. With pliers in our pockets, my two assistants and myself were off running down the lakeside to assist and calm the excited "WHAT DO I DO NOW's?" around the lake. They learned quickly and began helping each other. Every lady had caught fish, lots of fish! When I asked how many did you catch?, I got answers like "I lost count!" The ladies were filled with confidence. Smiles, Laughter and a lot of WAHOO'S filled the air that afternoon.

That is what it is all about, I proudly said with a smile to one of my assistants. It was nearing the end of this class, so I called out for the ladies to come in, strip down their equipment and come over for the "Care and Cleaning of Fish" part of the class. One fish was kept for this purpose, a nice largemouth Bass would do the trick! As they gathered around, I explained the importance of keeping fish cool, using a stringer, etc.

I usually would keep 2 fish, one to demonstrate field dressing and one to fillet, but during the excitement we forgot to keep one of the larger crappies. Well, how would I do this? A compromise! I will field dress and scale one side, then fillet the other! So I grabbed the bass klunked him over the head hard between the eyes as the ladies watched and learned. I flipped him on his back and slit him open.

As I was gutting, I was telling the gals how my Dad used to let me look inside the stomach to see what the fish had been eating to give us a good idea on what to use for bait. I looked around at my on-looking students and slowly squeezed one end of the stomach I held in one hand. There was definitely something large inside! I ran my fingers down and out came a 6 or 7 inch fresh alligator lizard one lady yelled "ITS A SNAKE!" at that we all SCREAMED! I couldn't believe I freaked to! They couldn't believe I lost it! We all LAUGHED!!!!

What a great story, I said, in all my years of fishing, I had never seen something like that! What a great example of what bass can swallow! And the appetites they have. Another great class completed.

Trish Sharman teaches fishing workshops for the California DFG sponsored program "Becoming an Outdoors Woman". For more information, email Susan Herrgesell, Program Manager or call her at (916) 653-7448.


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