Hiding from the cougars: RV adventures with my boys

I recently discovered a new joy, and that is fishing with my sons.  They are big little boys, but young enough to be innocent, and fishing puts glee on their faces, be it fishing for rock bass, small and medium sized blue gill, small mouth, or brownies and rainbow under the bank edges.   No boats needed.  Just fish.

They are not looking for huge fish.  They just vibrate with excitement when they are catching ANYTHING.    I am looking for time with my boys, and to develop their knowledge base and experiences a little at a time.    I don't catch much, between showing them not to use a massive hook, and not to use huge spinners and flashy crap.  And untangling their reels, and putting worms on.   And when they catch one, it is usually a fair bet that they will fall in the water, or trip, or ram the hook into a thumb, and they are, of course, excited immediately after to catch another.

Patience is not the virtue of the young boy.   Shoot, some of us have no patience till we are retired.  Me, I can sit watching a line, daydreaming, and just enjoying the moment. I don't consider fishing to be a chase, but rather becoming one with nature.    It's symbiotic, unless I eat them.  🙂

Now the boys, they see it as a chase, and a fast one.   Time will slow that chase, but for now, it is a pleasure to watch the excitement.    Heck if they catch a frog or a milk snake, it can kill an hour with excitement.

So, we head out for the weekend in the Roadtrek N-6, with bait and tackle and food, and of course, we are self contained, so we can go anywhere with no worries.    The Roadtrek gives us sleeping, safety, cooking, water, and total mobility.  We can get in almost anywhere, and we can leave just as fast.

I take the boys to some hidden public (crown) land, where I know the ponds are stuffed with Blue Gill and bass.   And I spend half an hour taking off the massive leaders, and sinkers, and 3/4 inch hooks they installed back at home, and tie a little hook on with a clinch knot, (making them do it), and then give them a little piece of worm, and install a bobber on the line.

Ahhh Dad, this is boring, I want to cast across and catch the big ones,….

And there they sit, and after one minute, they get bites, and they are so excited.  In an hour and twenty minutes I have a creel full of decent blue gill, and I announce it is time to move on.   We stop at the N-6, take out our trusty Behring Made Blackfoot River Filet knife (www.behringmadeknives.com), and my little Mudbone Jones boning knife, and we clean the fish.  Quality knives made by men who use them make life so much easier.   We wrap them up and put them into the chest fridge in the N-6, and off we go to a new site, where more of the same happens.    We have running water, and we clean up.  We do it again that afternoon, this time we catch some perch.   Not huge, not tiny, but the boys are excited.


The Roadtrek N-6

Of course, on the way back to the camper van, we nearly step on a huge rattler.  It is not excited, but the boys sure are. They are running like fiends. I make them come back and look, and show them how it moves.  Big snake, I will say that, scared the boys senseless.  I show them why I make them wear boots, and long pants, and they look at me know like I actually know something.

And then we stop in a campsite for a night.   Off the beaten track.  Just a little pull-in area on more crown land.  We power up the roof, and swivel the seats.    I make fish and eggs and hash browns for dinner.  And we settle in together, everybody in their beds, and they watch a movie on an IPAD together, plugged into USB outlets.  I read a book, go outside to star gaze.   After the movie, we play blackjack for almonds.

We all go outside for a rest stop before bed, and right after the campfire, I tell the boys to watch for cougars, and they are in bed in a shot.   Works like a charm every time.

And my youngest son, laying in bed, says, can we do this every weekend, Dad?

Well laddie, I sure hope so……

There are


  1. shari groendyk

    A great read, Jim. Makes me want to go camping and fishing with our 2 young grandsons at our river cabin. Nothing beats time spent one on one, away from the bright lights. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Campskunk

    that’s great – fishermen fishing for show need all this fancy equipment out of the orvis catalog, and outfits to match. i’m partial to the folks fishing for dinner, not for show. fishing for bluegills and perch will get you dinner a lot faster than the dry-fly stuff.

    a good lesson – take the time now. there are no make-up dates raising kids. they’ll be grown and gone before you know it. soon there’ll be nobody to show how to tie a hook.

  3. Lisa

    Dang it, that makes me miss my dad! Many a evening he bundled allmy mom, 4 kids and 2 dogs into a 15 foot boat so we could eat dinner on the lake while he fished. We always ate his catch. Long time before his Roadtrek but sometimes we’d find a small island and spend the weekend. Maybe there weren’t cougars out there?

  4. Dave Miller

    Well said Jim. I have been a very lucky Dad. It seems like we spend more time working together than fishing but then that’s the way it was with my Dad. As a kid I didn’t want to work on projects with my Dad but in looking back I know how to do so many things that my old friends don’t. Time spent with kids is priceless. Keep it up. Bigfoot Dave

    Where do you find rattlers in Canada? I’ve never developed much of a liking for them.

  5. Jim, thanks for sharing such precious moments with your sons! You are fortunate to realize all of this when they are still young and you can savor the moments.

  6. Maureen

    Oh my gosh….this brings back such wonderful memories, first of my brother and I as children making our own fishing lines with hooks and worms and what a great catch of bullheads we would get. Then of my two sons spending at least two to three weeks of their boyhood with their Dad and Uncle camping on a little island close to Nanaimo BC and fishing every day. These days it is my grandson and granddaughter that get the thrill….next July/August they will be trying for the salmon off the fishing dock or beach as the sockeye run up the mouth of the Fraser (hopefully 60 million of them will show up). Such a sight to see hundreds of fish jumping at any given minute of the day. Jim, your boys will never forget what a gift you have given them….golden memories. Thanks for sharing…warms my heart.

  7. Cheryl Gregorie

    What an awesome story! You have your priorities lined up perfectly. Your children will pass on these wonderful memories and skills and become the adults you wish them to become. They are lent to us for such a short time!

  8. David Kutz

    Mr. Hammill,
    Thanks for the post. I’m with everyone else — love the story. Although it might be read at face value, I assume you were writing allegorically about the journey of a young boy into manhood. Why else would you teach your sons to “land a good fish without using a massive hook, huge spinner or flashy crap,” to “watch out for snakes,” and that you can use an RV to “hide from the cougars.” However, it sounds like your boys are still pretty young — those old ladies in Canada must really be desperate.

  9. Bill Sprague


    We did a wonderful job of introducing our sons to canoeing, fishing, hunting, rock climbing and mountain biking. So good in fact that they both married and moved to the Rockies! Now we’re hoping RT will be able to add 4×4 to the new 40th Anniversary 190 Popular, so we can visit year round without having to drive our 4Runner and sleep in motels!

    We love the Roadtrek innovation and engineering excellence! Kudos for raising sons with patience and a wonder for the outdoors!



  10. Its not the same van as RT its VW’s 2010 concept of what a camper should be. Look it up to see the interior! I’m pretty YouTube has a video review of this van as well.