Since I was old enough to remember, fishing has been a part of my life.
To me, being on the lake just before dawn is heaven on earth. The stillness of the morning, the crisp air, a gentle mist lingering above the surface of the water. Man, it doesn’t get much better. I’m the furthest thing from a morning person, but I will leap out of bed at the most disgusting hours of the morning to go fishing.
My love for this sport started at an early age. As the first-born son of an avid angler, it was only fitting that I take my maiden voyage as early in life as possible. I’m told I joined my parents on the lake for the first time at the ripe old age of three months. Obviously, I don’t remember that first trip, but it planted a seed that would bloom into a full-blown obsession.
Throughout my younger years, fishing remained the focal point of my existence. I loved fishing more than anything. But not just any type of fishing, tournament bass fishing. I’ve always been very competitive, and tournament fishing allowed me to satisfy my urge to compete while doing the thing I loved the most.
My father was a big tournament fisherman and he would occasionally let me tag along. I’ll always remember the pride I felt sharing a boat with my dad in a tournament.
Around age 12 or 13, my friends and I discovered a pond down the street from my house. The owner was kind enough to let us fish whenever we wanted, so we spent countless hours there honing our skills. During my teenage years, fishing most likely kept me out of a lot of trouble. Nights and weekends when my peers were partying and getting into all sorts of shenanigans, I was wetting a line.
In my early 20’s, my dad helped me buy a boat of my own. There were night tournaments called rodeos held on our local lake every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the summer. My cousin and I teamed up to fish as many of these little tournaments as we could. I also joined a few bass fishing clubs and began fishing some local tournament trails.
I became pretty good at bass fishing and made a name for myself on the local tournament scene, winning several tournaments and making some decent money along the way. However, out of all my years of fishing, one memory in particular stands out.
The First Fish
I remember catching my first fish like it was yesterday.
I was only four years old fishing from shore at a local state park alongside my dad. The baits of choice for most youngsters are usually earthworms or nightcrawlers, but not for me.
I was using a lure called a buzzbait. It’s a lure designed to be fished on the surface of the water and, basically, you just cast it out and wind it back in. My dad strictly fished for bass with artificial lures so, of course, I had to emulate my pops.
I stood there beside my dad, copying his every move, chunking and winding that thing like a pro. As luck would have it, a fish came up and ate it!
I’ll never forget the excitement I felt as I reeled it in. We were attending a cookout at the park that day, so most of my extended family was there. I swelled with pride as I showed off my prized catch.
Excuse the lame pun, but after that day I was hooked.
My dad has always been my hero and role model, and there’s nothing in the world that I’d rather do than go fishing with Dad. When I was a kid, time seemed infinite, and I often took our fishing trips for granted.
Now that I’m grown with a family of my own, fishing trips with my father are unfortunately few and far between. Oftentimes, I find myself daydreaming and reminiscing about the many tournaments we fished together, wishing I could turn back time and relive some of those priceless moments.
I’ll always cherish the time my father and I spent together on the water. Nothing will ever take those memories away from me.
Pass It On
Over nine years ago, God blessed my wife and I with a son.
Fishing with my little man is one of my most favorite things about life. Although I don’t get to fish as much as I would like these days, each time I go I want my son there with me. Now that I’m a dad, I’ve come to realize how much my father valued the time he spent fishing with me.
As a kid, going fishing was just a fun trip to the lake with Dad trying to catch a fish or two. But as a father, it’s more than just a fishing trip.
It’s quality time with your child in God’s creation isolated from the distractions of the world. It’s little conversations about life. It’s a chance to once again view the world in amazement through the innocent eyes of a child, resurrecting the forgotten wonder and excitement for life that the years of adulthood have slowly stripped away from you.
Time with your children is finite. This gut-punch of reality hits me harder and harder as my son grows older. To kids, it’s just fishing. But to you, it’s a few moments of utopia with the little ones who have stolen your heart.
Fishing has taught me many life lessons, kept me out of trouble, and turned me into the man I am today. I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity to pass my love for fishing down to my son, just like my father did for me.
This summer, take a kid fishing. It’s not only an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience for you, it could be a life-changing experience for them.