BIRDSBORO - David Cramp doesn't hide the fact he can't get out to fish as much as he would like to anymore.

Now 88 years old, the Morgantown resident just doesn't have the strength in his legs to stand along the shoreline for an entire afternoon of trout fishing.

But that didn't stop him from getting out Saturday to watch others fish on the opening day of trout fishing at Scotts Run Lake at French Creek State Park.

"It used to be that I wouldn't be able to sleep the night before the start of trout season," said Cramp, who owns a lifetime fishing license. "I only get to fish maybe four times a year anymore, but I like to come out and watch the little boys and their fathers. It's nice to see families fish together, because families that fish together stay together."

Cramp said although he hasn't gotten a line wet on opening day in some time, he hasn't missed an opening day at the Berks County state park in 20 years, and has seen the popularity grow each and every year, with a constant change in bait usage being the biggest difference each year.

But he still thinks his old stand-by of corn and worms works best.

"I don't see many guys using corn anymore," Cramp said. "That always seemed to work good for me. I'm not so sure about all that artificial bait stuff."

Cramp said the popularity of being out along the water on the opening day of trout season is an unexplainable phenomenon, much like the opening day of buck season.

"It's just an itch you get to be out,' he said. "It's just like the opening day of deer season, you just want to get that chance to be out on the first day."

Frank Bast has begun to understand just what Cramp is talking about.

Along a heavily fished Scott's Run Lake, which held over 50 boats and 200 fishermen, Bast, an Allentown native, his son Nicholas, 8, and niece Kayla Snyder, 8, of McAdoo, took to the local waters not in search of 'the big one', but to spend some quality time with family and teach the younger generation the sport of fishing.

"You're always hyped up on opening day with the hopes of catching (a big fish)," the elder Bast said. "We've been out together now for the last two or three years, and it has become a sort of tradition. It's a nice teaching experience for us."

Bast felt this year it would be good to spend the entire weekend at French Creek, and along with the children and nine other family members and friends, camped out so they could get a good jump on fishing the opening day.

"This is our first year here (at French Creek). Usually, we fish locally," Bast said. "But the kids like it, and I think we are going to keep this tradition of camping and fishing."

The trio didn't have much to show for the day - as far as fish caught, that is - but little Nicholas did manage to pull in his first fish of the season early in the morning.

The low fish count didn't bother Frank Bast or any of his younger fishing buddies.

"We usually don't catch anything on opening day," said Bast, whose group used minnows and power bait. "It's more just being out together; that's why we do it."

"Every year I see fathers and young sons coming out, and every year they come back just to get that line out," said Cramp. "That's the nice thing about fishing. Someday those kids will come back with their kids to carry on the tradition."

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