"It is all about the kids and getting the kids interested and involved."
Robert Pitman was talking about the new fishing package White Oak Plantation is offering.
But that focus isn't really new. White Oak, located just outside Tuskegee, AL exactly 342-miles from my driveway, has long been family and youth oriented.
During its' heyday, when they entertained as many as 600 deer and turkey hunters a year, the focus even then was on getting the youth involved in outdoor activities.
During the summer, various youth groups were invited to come fish and play.
Judge Dave Durham and I were at White Oak, a week or so ago, to sample the fishing.
I asked that we be lodged exactly as the anglers taking advantage of the new family weekend package would be lodged.
WOW! We were staying in a three-bedroom, two bath executive suite with a fully equipped kitchen and roomy "lounging" area with a big TV.
The "weekend", runs from noon Friday through noon Sunday and fishing is the main attraction. The emphasis is on the kids. However, if you have no kids, adults are welcome.
"If you get a child interested in fishing or any outdoor activity, that has to be good and we need more of it," said Robert.
"We are set up so that one or two adults can come here, bring the kids and catch fish and plenty of them. That is the key.
"The kids have to catch fish and if they need mom or dad to help with baiting the hook and taking fish off...that's what parents are supposed to do.
"It's important not to let the grown-ups fishing desires get in the way of the kids fishing. You can come here and keep the fishing periods short so they don't get too tired.
"But the thing is, here in our lake with the feeders and all, they are going to catch fish and lots of them. Big fish."
So, after "The Judge" and I ate us a bait of lunch, we went and tried the fishing out. Dave caught the first fish on about the third pop of his flyrod popping bug.
"Now that right there," he gushed as the bream pulled the boat around, "is a bream on steroids."
The bream in the lake, about a 25-second walk behind the lodge, are not normal. Most of them will not fit in your hand and they pull like a freight train.
We fished in short sessions, like kids our age and younger would do and totaled it up.
We estimate we fished about 12-hours, total over the two morning and two afternoons.
We filleted 90 fish and brought back enough vacuum bags of fillets to keep us until winter. The rest, we ate for dinner one night.
Guests bring their own groceries and do their own cooking on their own time schedule. There are no time limits or schedules to keep.
Fish when you want and the rest of the time, do whatever you like. There is plenty of room to romp and hike and take pictures or just kick back in the air conditioning and relax or watch television.
You can catch the fish on about anything. The Judge and I used only artificials and a flyrod is ideal if you are skilled with one. But meal worms or crickets would be deadly. We used spinning tackle most of the time but a long, cane pole would work just fine on bream. For the kids, I suggest bait such as meal worms, bream hooks, light, split shot weights and a cork.
Robert will tell you exactly what you need and what to expect. You can contact him by calling 334-727-9258 or look up the place on line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise, you will fill your time and coolers with bream and bass.
Now that school is out, for far less than a weekend at any class hotel or theme park will cost, you can have a super family getaway noon Friday to noon Sunday.
And if a pet is part of your family, so long as they are well behaved, they are welcome.
What Dave and I did was fish a couple hours in the cool of the morning, break for lunch and nap, then hit it again for a few hours in the afternoon.
We did not fish hard and we made sure we filleted our fish after each session so avoid having a huge pile to clean at one time.
The well-equipped cleaning shed has electricity and running water and is right on the lake.
Guests have the fishing exclusively. There will be no other anglers booked at the same time. The executive suite and the lake are all yours.
For sure, don't forget your camera.
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