"Okay, guys," I said. "When a fish bites you need to yell, ‘FISH-On’ as loud as you can, okay?" Both Joey and Luke shook their head. "Loud," I said. "So loud they can here you in that boat way over there. Okay?"
Less than a minute later one of the planer lines snapped free from its release and the rod folded over. I don’t know whether Joey or Luke helped, but in that boat way over there, I’m sure heads turned when they heard my own "fish-on" call.
I handed Joey the rod and he just held on. "Turn the crank," I coached. He’d never held a fishing rod before. I guess I should have coached a bit more in depth. Once he started cranking, Joey was fine and when we netted the coho and flipped it onto the deck, his smile went ear to ear!
Seconds later another coho struck a crankbait on the other side of the boat and Luke was onto his first salmon.
Each year Indiana’s North Coast Charter Association conducts a "Special Kids Gone Fishing" outing, where we take area youngsters with chronic or debilitating problems or disease for a morning on the lake. I’ll admit, it makes me feel like a special captain, as well.
At the photo session at the end of the trip, I think all the kids but one held up their hand when asked if they’d caught a fish. When they were asked if they had fun, I think heads turned in a boat "way over there" to see what the cheering was about.