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!
 

 

 

 

 

 

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.