ROOT BEERS, MILKSHAKES, RENEGADES & MOUNTAIN LAKES

My parents had eight kids and now all of my siblings are married with kids of their own.  So, to sum it up, the Wayment family is simply huge (pronounced like the POTUS).  We all love each other, get along, and treasure the rare times when we can be together.  Last July, we rented a cabin in Garden City, Utah for a much-needed family reunion.  I believe the last time all of us were together was when our beloved dad passed away in 2014.

When the Wayment Family gets together, you can pretty much bet on three things: (1) Some of us are going hunting or fishing; (2)  Mexican Food will be eaten (or some other good food like Cajun or BBQ); and (3) gourmet root beers will be consumed (we’re Mormons so we don’t drink alcohol).  Last year’s reunion was no exception to this rule.

 

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Speaking of Mormons, this root beer named after Brigham Young was one of my favorites from the trip.
Most of the family arrived at the cabin on Thursday, July 7th and we just sat around and enjoyed each other’s company.  Brother Shawn had brought a whole cooler of gourmet root beers and, of course, we sampled a few.

The following day we had to spend the obligatory time on the sandy beaches of the Idaho side of Bear Lake, the “Caribbean of the Rockies.”  Honestly, I can take or leave that, but my kids enjoy it.  I talked my wife into sneaking away to go get one of those famous raspberry milkshakes Bear Lake is known for, so the day wasn’t a total loss.

After dinner, things improved tremendously as my daughter, Nessy, and brother Scott agreed to go fishing with me on St. Charles Creek in Idaho.  My nephews, Jared, Easton, and Steele also tagged along for the adventure.  Nessy and I shared a Tenkara USA Rhodo rod and Scott and Jared used their western fly rods and reels.   The creek was overgrown in most places making it difficult to cast and to wade, but we caught a few small trout.   In a seam where two currents conjoined below an island, a beautiful brook trout rolled on my  Renegade and I quickly brought him to hand.  Nessy got a little frustrated with the thickness of the foliage and the technicality of the creek, but gave it a good effort.  Our problem was that we had a hard time finding water open enough for her to cast.

As darkness descended upon us, we came upon a high beaver dam.  In the failing light, we could see the wink of rising trout in the calm water above the dam.  My tenkara rod did not have the length to reach these fish, so I borrowed my nephew, Jared’s rod and reel.  I caught a few fish on Renegades, including a nice Bonneville Cutthroat.  Though the fishing was a little tough, everyone had fun.  We capped off the night with a raspberry milkshake in Garden City.  That made two in one day for me.  Can life get any better?  I submit that it cannot!

 

Saturday, the bulk of the Wayment clan hiked up to a popular high mountain lake.   I’d tell you the name, but the lake is already so overcrowded as it is.  Have you ever seen that video meme on Facebook in which a dude swings on a rope swing out into this pristine lake and gets munched by a monstrous fish? I believe that video was taken at this particular lake.  Too bad there aren’t any monster fish in the lake like the one in the meme.

Once at the lake, I used my 2-weight St. Croix Ultra Legend rod and reel , Tommy, the Rhodo, and Nessy, the Badger Tenkara Medium Flex Classic.  I caught a bunch of fish on Pistol Petes.  Both Tom and Ness caught fish on nymphs.  The water was so clear that we sight-casted to cruising fish both in the lake proper and its outlet.

 

After catching one particular rainbow, Nessy shed a few tears as she worried that it would not make it.

With a smile on my face, I said to her, “There’s no crying in fishing!” as I helped her unhook and release the fish back into the lake.  And, if you are wondering, it swam off and we did not see it go belly up.  So that was a relief.

I really enjoy fishing high mountain lakes.  This may be sacrilege for a tenkara blog, but tenkara is not the best tactic for lake fishing because you can’t cast as far or strip the flies in like you can in western streamer fishing.  However, it is a great method for kids because the rods are easy to cast and kids learn quickly that you simply have to move the rod tip to move the fly.  I was glad to see my kids catch a few on tenkara by themselves.

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Nothing gets me more excited than to see my kids learning to love fishing.
To sum up, the Wayment Bear Lake Family Reunion was a good time.  It was fun to be together with my favorite people on earth in such a beautiful place.  I drank a total of four raspberry milkshakes (the family record, I think) and who knows how many root beers?  Shawn and I got to shoot our bows a few evenings.  And, to top it off, we caught a few trout.  I’d call that a successful trip if ever there was one.

Shawn shoots the long bow…I mean a recurve.
That’s some dang good root beer right there!
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Most of the Wayment grandkids, but not all. That’s a pretty big pile of kids!
 

 

 

 

 

 

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TRY AGAIN TOMMY

“I am not concerned that you have fallen — I am concerned that you arise.”
Abraham Lincoln

 Our Memorial Day Weekend camping trip had mostly been a disappointment for my 12 year old son, Thomas.  Every year we camp with some of our best friends and their families at Birch Creek to fish and ride four wheelers or motorcycles.  Our friends with the four wheelers would not let Tommy drive by himself and would hardly let he and his friend, Adam, hitch a ride.  And Tom, who oftentimes lacks a filter, repeatedly let everyone know of his disappointment.  So this trip was mostly a bummer for him.    

 One of the main reasons why our family goes to Birch Creek every Memorial Day is to give the kids the opportunity to catch some fish on the fly.  There is no better place to teach youngsters how to fly fish and tenkara makes its easy.  Although he has often fished with me in the past, Thomas did not once ask to fish on Friday or Saturday. We did not fish on Sunday, but just spent time together as a family.   

 “This is the worst camping trip of my life.  There is nothing to do.  I am so bored!” Tom had complained more than once over the weekend. 

 While I did not voice my opinion, I felt that Tom’s negativity stemmed from his lack of trying to enjoy nature, and more particularly, fishing.  I truly hope that my kids will learn to love fishing, but I do not want to force this on them.    

On Monday morning—a warmer, sunnier day that the previous three days—four of my six kids all wanted to catch fish using tenkara.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that I promised a prize if they could catch a fish all by themselves.  Nessy, Eden, Lily, and Ben all took turns with the Tenkara USA Rhodo and caught fish.  It was a fun, successful morning.  Of course, all of the kids bragged to everyone, including Tommy, about winning a Jamba Juice by catching a fish. 

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Lily’s first fish on tenkara.  Can’t beat that smile!
Not wanting to miss out, Tommy finally asked after lunch, “Dad, I want to try to catch a fish.”    Before that, he and Adam had been whining about not being able to ride four wheelers, which made their owners even more unwilling to give them a ride.     

I sent Tom down to the creek, with the tenkara rod and a nymph and indicator rig, to fish from the bank where Eden and her friend Becca had caught numerous fish earlier that morning.  Try as he may, Tom could not catch anything and I didn’t help him.  To be honest, I was a little miffed that Tom only asked to fish just before we were getting ready to pack up to go home and only because he wanted a Jamba Juice. 

Tommy soon stomped back to camp kicking the ground and yelling, “I CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT! I SUCK AT EVERYTHING! I’M THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN’T CATCH A FISH!” 

Everyone in camp was staring at Tommy’s temper tantrum and shaking their heads.  To gain control of the situation, I made Tom sit in my car until he calmed down.

After about five minutes, I went to the car, opened the door and said, “Try again Tom.  Go put on your shorts and Grandpa’s wading boots and I will go down to the creek with you and help you to catch a fish.” 

Tommy obeyed and we both went down to the creek with the Rhodo in hand.  For the first time ever, Tommy waded with me in the creek.  I showed him how and where to cast and how to present the fly.

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Misty admires Tommy’s fish. 

 In about twenty minutes, Tommy caught two fish but both got away before we could photo them.  Both times, I hooted and hollered, “Alright Tommy!” while jumping up and down.  The whole camp above us overheard our jubilation.  I can honestly say that I was more excited about these two fish than any others brought to hand over the weekend. 

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Fish on!

Tommy and I fished up the creek together and I pointed out where the fish typically held and showed Tom where to cast.  We had a good bonding moment like my late father and I had experienced so many times before on this special creek.  This is exactly what I was had hoped for.       

 We didn’t get any more fish, but Tom said, with a smile, as we stood shin deep in the creek, “This is my favorite part of the camping trip.  Thank you so much Dad!”

 Truth be told, it was mine too.  I was so glad I spent the one on one time with him.

 

DON’T LET YOUR MOUTH WRITE CHECKS YOUR WALLET CAN’T CASH

Every Memorial Day, my family and I go camping at Birch Creek in Idaho. It’s the perfect place to take kids fishing and to help them catch fish on a fly. All of my kids like to join in on the action and they all have become big fans of tenkara. Like me, they like to yell “TENKARA!!!” in a Japanese accent with a Karate stance.

 

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Birch Creek

Last year on Memorial Day after breakfast, I took my young son Benny fishing with my 2 weight St. Croix Ultra Legend fly rod, while my second daughter, Jenness, fished with my Tenkara USA Rhodo rod. We all fished this nice run with big boulders that we could stand on and a nice hole on both the upper and downstream ends. Ben came out and stood on the rocks with me. Nessy was with us and took some beautiful pictures as we landed a few trout.

Benny admires our fish.

Nessy also caught a few fish on tenkara. Of all my kids, Nessy has really taken to tenkara and can’t understand what other fly fishers have against it. She feels that it is effective, easy and fun. I snapped a few photos of Nessy with her fish. I’m so proud of that girl!

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Nessy getting it done with tenkara!

After we finished fishing, we went back to camp to relax. However, it wasn’t long before my third daughter, Eden, approached me and said, “Daddy, I really want to catch a fish.”

“I’ll tell you what,” I said to Eden and all of my kids. “If you can catch a fish all by yourself, I’ll buy you a Jamba juice.”

Not only did all my kids take up the challenge, but many of their friends, whose families were camping with us, wanted in on the action and the spoils. I suddenly feared that my wager was maybe a bit too generous.

Eden and her best friend, Becca, went down to the creek below camp and I showed them how to cast with the tenkara rod from the bank, but then left them to their own devises. Surprisingly, those two young ladies caught a bunch of trout. Birch Creek was in a good mood and being generous. I took a few photos as they giggled and took turns. We even let Becca’s little brother, Lincoln bring in a few.

After Eden’s success, my youngest daughter, Lily, wanted her turn with tenkara. Unlike Eden, Lily got right out into the shallow creek and waded beside me in her flip flops. Lily caught two fish that morning and was so excited. I was sure proud of her. Of course, I was starting to feel the forthcoming financial crunch from having to buy so many Jamba Juices for victorious kids.

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Lily picked tenkara up quickly.
 
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Can’t beat that smile.

As Benny, my four year old, watched from the bank, I decided to let him bring in a few in from the bank. No, he didn’t hook them himself. I did and then handed him the tenkara rod. Some of my very favorite pictures of the trip are of him fighting the fish from the bank. I figured that this qualified him for a Jamba Juice too.

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Benny fights a fish on tenkara.

As I will write about in another chapter, “Try Again Tom,” my son Thomas also caught two fish on tenkara. So all of my kids, except my oldest, Emma, who did not try, caught fish (yes, that’s six kids in all if anyone is keeping track).

Call me cheap, but at six bucks a pop, a trip to Jamba Juice for so many kids didn’t seem too financially feasible. So I decided to renegotiate and, instead of Jamba Juice, ended up buying all my kids Stewart’s Key Lime Sodas. That was a little more friendly to my wallet and they loved it!

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Stewarts Key Lime: To the victors the spoils!

Moral of the story: Don’t let your mouth write checks your wallet can’t cash. Tenkara just makes it so fun and easy for kids to catch fish.