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Obsessed with bowhunting whitetails and running trail cams! Love fishing, 3D Archery, camping, and teaching hunter education. Been a member of the Mossy Oak ProStaff since 2008 and is excited to become a part of the team here at Victory Outdoors.

Coming Full Circle

20150530_124549When I was a boy, my family would go on fishing day trips to a little private backwater pond we owned. It would be a family event, and we’d pile in the back of the old truck and make our way across a terribly primitive rock dam and through a pasture back to the old pond. We owned the ground on one side of the long narrow strip, and another family owned the other side. There were times the other family was there at the same time we were, but for the most part we would be the only ones in the area.
20150530_142038My grandparents on my mom’s side would generally fish with a worm and a bobber, not necessarily picky on what fish they caught, as long as we could have a fish fry with some homemade hushpuppies at the end of the day. My grandfather on my dad’s side would always fish with the biggest bobber I’d ever seen, and we joked about how there weren’t any fish in the state big enough to pull that thing under. I’m not even sure he cared to catch a fish. Maybe he just enjoyed the chance to relax for a while. I can’t say I remember him ever catching a single fish in all the years we fished together. My mom was another believer in the worm and bobber combo. My dad always had the spinning reel with the spoons and jigs, and we would be in awe every time he’d pull in a northern, or a mess of crappie.
20150530_124549My brother and I must have been quite the handful. We would look forward to each trip, and we’d catch some fish here and there, but for the most part we would do things little boys do. We had minimal patience, so if the fish weren’t biting, we would be throwing rocks, or exploring, or messing with frogs, or snakes, or bugs, or whatever. We would cast our lines, and if we didn’t get a bite within a few seconds we would obviously need to reel it in a ways, or all the way in so we could cast to the “good spot.” Most of the time if we reeled our line in all the way, it would take several attempts at casting and reeling in and then casting again to get our line where we wanted, then we’d let it sit for a matter of seconds before starting over again.
20150530_141444I can’t imagine the level of patience my whole family showed us.Through all the years we took these trips, they never yelled at us or threatened to ban us from coming, and they all taught us something about fishing whether they knew it or not. We actually went on fishing trips with my grandfather on my mom’s side quite regularly to various other ponds and rivers, so he probably shaped our fishing habits and skills more than anyone else, but they all played an important role in making us into fishermen.
My wife and I have taken our kids fishing several times over the last few years, but the girls are still fairly young and our son is only two, so they can’t really be expected to stay focused or engaged for long periods of time. We have always made fishing an addition to a camping trip, or a trip to see grandparents at the lake. This weekend we actually took a specific fishing trip. It was at a farm pond just a few miles from home, but we would be in the middle of a pasture, with no one else around and no other attractions for however long we could take it.
20150530_124549We started out with each of us helping one of the girls and within a few minutes they both had bites, but only our younger daughter Emily was able to get the hook set and land a nice 12 inch largemouth bass. She landed a couple other little bass within the next fifteen minutes, and then she wanted to take a break. Our older daughter Caitlyn didn’t catch any fish until after we had a small lunch, and they both ended up catching five or six fish. My wife and I each caught several nice bass, and I caught a few crappie, with the biggest being just over 12 inches. . Overall the kids did great and we were out at the pond for nearly seven hours and everyone had a good time. The owner of the pond asked us to not put all the bass back, as it is a small pond and he doesn’t want them to become overpopulated, so we took a few home and had a nice fish fry that evening. As I was filleting the fish, I couldn’t help but think about all the time I spent when I was their age fishing with my family, and I thought of my grandfather a lot, even singing his “old fishing trip” anthem to myself.
20150530_175521-1I was fortunate enough to have a solid network of mentors growing up, and I hope I can be half as successful instilling the love of the outdoors in my kids as my family was with me.

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