There is a simplicity and familiarity to fishing small ponds for bass and bluegill that relaxes me and takes me down a road of more memories than I can count. Getting to share that experience and love with my son is quite possibly my favorite thing to do. I was fortunate to spend most of my childhood and teenage years with a pond on the property right behind mine. Having the ability to grab my rod and spend evenings casting poppers to aggressive panfish is where my love for fly fishing took root. While we do not live there anymore, I still have access to the pond and fish there regularly. My son and I decided to take an evening trip to the pond and see what we could find. The water was not quite warm enough for the fish to show much interest in my poppers, but I had a decent amount of success on small girdle bugs and was able to keep a bend in my rod for most of the evening. My son was using his spinning gear and casting his favorite black rooster tail as far as he could out into the pond. I heard him yell dad and turned to see his rod bent so far that I could only assume he had hooked a stump. That’s when I saw the familiar bounce of the rod tip that can only mean an angry largemouth bass has just realized he is hooked and is beginning to enact his escape. I dropped my fly rod without even bringing in my line and ran down the bank like a wild man yelling, “keep your rod up!” and “reel buddy reel!” He fought the fish like a pro and pulled in the largest bass I have ever seen come out of that pond in my twenty years of fishing there. We quickly snapped some pictures and I showed him how to hold the fish and revive him before the release. He looked up and said, “Next time, I want to do it with your fly rod!” We high fived and hugged and decided to end the night on a high note and head home. Being able to see the same small body of water that fostered my love of fly fishing and to see those same emotions in my son was more rewarding than any fish I could have caught. It was a night I will never forget. Take your kids fishing. Get them outdoors. Whether they use a Mickey Mouse rod or a fly rod. Whether they lose interest and chase frogs and grasshoppers the whole time, just take them and let them see how beautiful nature can be. Trust me, you won’t regret it!